A single evolutionary innovation drives the deep evolution of symbiotic N2-fixation in angiosperms

G.D.A. Werner, W.K. Cornwell, J.I. Sprent, J. Kattge, E.T. Kiers

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Symbiotic associations occur in every habitat on earth, but we know very little about their evolutionary histories. Current models of trait evolution cannot adequately reconstruct the deep history of symbiotic innovation, because they assume homogenous evolutionary processes across millions of years. Here we use a recently developed, heterogeneous and quantitative phylogenetic framework to study the origin of the symbiosis between angiosperms and nitrogen-fixing (N 2) bacterial symbionts housed in nodules. We compile the largest database of global nodulating plant species and reconstruct the symbiosis' evolution. We identify a single, cryptic evolutionary innovation driving symbiotic N
Original languageEnglish
Article number4087
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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