, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 363-372
Date: 03 Apr 2012

Rhizobial communities in symbiosis with legumes: genetic diversity, competition and interactions with host plants

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Abstract

The term ‘Rhizobium-legume symbiosis’ refers to numerous plant-bacterial interrelationships. Typically, from an evolutionary perspective, these symbioses can be considered as species-to-species interactions, however, such plant-bacterial symbiosis may also be viewed as a low-scale environmental interplay between individual plants and the local microbial population. Rhizobium-legume interactions are therefore highly important in terms of microbial diversity and environmental adaptation thereby shaping the evolution of plant-bacterial symbiotic systems. Herein, the mechanisms underlying and modulating the diversity of rhizobial populations are presented. The roles of several factors impacting successful persistence of strains in rhizobial populations are discussed, shedding light on the complexity of rhizobial-legume interactions.