New Nitrogen Fixing expedition

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Elaeagnus umbellata, autumn olive. This temperate eastern Asian native is a non-legume nitrogen-fixer, hosting Frankia bacteria in its roots to fix atmospheric nitrogen. Like a number of other “actinorhizal” plants that have relationships with Frankia, nitrogen fixation has allowed this species to become invasive in several parts of the world.

Its been a while since we launched a Nitrogen Fixing expedition, mostly because we spent a lot of last Spring and Summer working our tails off getting sampling done at herbaria, while also getting sequencing efforts underway. But now we are ready to get back to what we think is a key part of this work—being able to link up specimens with our genetic data. This remains so critical because we can link each set of genes we sequence to the plant itself and to all the contextual information on the labels about when the plant was collected, the locality, etc. We are particularly ready for this step because sequencing and analyses of the more than 10,000 species that form the key part of this project is nearing completion.  Our work so far on the genes responsible is starting to provide a glimpse into how plants form root nodules—which are critical for allowing the nitrogen-fixing symbiosis to happen. We really appreciate your help getting us further along with this effort.
— The NitFix Team
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