What stories can the Frankia genomes start to tell us?
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Among the Actinobacteria, the genus Frankia is well known for its facultative lifestyle as a plant symbiont of dicotyledonous plants and as a free-living soil dweller. Frankia sp. strains are generally classified into one of four major phylogenetic groups that have distinctive plant host ranges. Our understanding of these bacteria has been greatly facilitated by the availability of the first three complete genome sequences, which suggested a correlation between genome size and plant host range. Since that first report, eight more Frankia genomes have been sequenced. Representatives from all four lineages have been sequenced to provide vital baseline information for genomic approaches toward understanding these novel bacteria. An overview of the Frankia genomes will be presented to stimulate discussion on the potential of these organisms and a greater understanding of their physiology and evolution.
KeywordsActinobacteria actinorhizal symbiosis genomes nitrogen fixation
This project (LST) was supported in part by Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Grant 2010–65108–20581 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Grant NH530, and The College of Life Sciences and Agriculture at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH. MG was supported in part by a Visiting Scientist Program administered by the NH AES at the University of New Hampshire.
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