An international team led by researchers from the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) in France sequenced the haploid genome of Rhizophagus irregularis, a fungus that forms symbiotic relationships with plant roots and contributes to phosphorus cycling. The genome offers a look at the nature of R. irregularis' relationship with land plants, revealing players in plant communication and phosphorus use.

The team found that the newly sequenced genome contains a robust collection of nutrient uptake genes and genes involved in primary metabolic processes. Francis Martin senior author of the paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said "Through analysis of this and other mycorrhizal genomes, we can help to better understand interactions and conditions critical for a sustainable growth of bioenergy plants, but also staple crops, a prerequisite to help feeding the world."

The results of the sequencing study are available online at http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/11/21/1313452110.abstract 
(DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1313452110).

Genome of an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus provides insight into the oldest plant symbiosis