The traditional idea of symbiosis—long-term interactions between two organisms—is that the participants mutually benefit each other. However, researchers have debated whether the interests of the symbionts always line up with the hosts they inhabit, or whether genes that benefit symbionts might come at the expense of their hosts. A new study investigates this question through genomic sequencing and infecting plant hosts with their microbial symbionts.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a five-year, $12.5 million grant to integrate biology to a collaborative team based in the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The new institute, Genomics and Eco-evolution of Multi-scale Symbioses (GEMS), will include molecular, organismal, computational and theoretical approaches.