Mycorrhiza pp 157-180 | Cite as

Use of Plant Mutants, Intraspecific Variants, and Non-Hosts in Studying Mycorrhiza Formation and Function

  • R. L. Peterson
  • S. M. Bradbury


Many questions in developmental biology have been addressed by the use of mutants showing one or more genetically based phenotypic variations from the wild type. In plant biology this approach has been particularly useful, utilizing Arabidopsis thaliana, a dicotyledonous angiosperm species with a small genome and a short life cycle. The short life cycle and the small size of the plant allow the effective screening in petri plates of large numbers of plants for spontaneous or induced mutations (Somerville 1989; Schiefelbein and Benfey 1991). This species, unfortunately, is normally non-mycorrhizal (but see Kruckelmann 1975) and does not associate with symbiotic bacteria, so other more complex systems have been used to study symbioses. The Rhizobium-legume symbiosis has been explored in detail using both plant and Rhizobium mutants (Verma and Brisson 1987), and considerable information has been obtained concerning the genetic control by both symbionts in the complex processes of nodulation and nitrogen fixation.


Mycorrhizal Fungus Plant Mutant Mycorrhizal Colonization Colonization Level Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungus 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. L. Peterson
  • S. M. Bradbury
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada

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