Rhizobium leguminosarum is the symbiont of lentils in the Middle East and Europe but not in Bangladesh

Authors

  • M. Harun-or Rashid,

    1. Department of Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
    2. Soil Microbiology Laboratory, Soil Science Division, Bangladesh Institute of Nuclear Agriculture (BINA), Mymensingh, Bangladesh
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  • Javier Gonzalez,

    1. Department of Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
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  • J. Peter W. Young,

    1. Department of Biology, University of York, York, UK
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  • Michael Wink

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Heidelberg, Germany
    • Correspondence: Michael Wink, Department of Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, Heidelberg University, Im Neuenheimer Feld 364, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. Tel.: +49 6221 544847; fax: +49 6221 544884; e-mail: wink@uni-hd.de

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Abstract

Lentil is the oldest of the crops that have been domesticated in the Fertile Crescent and spread to other regions during the Bronze Age, making it an ideal model to study the evolution of rhizobia associated with crop legumes. Housekeeping and nodulation genes of lentil-nodulating rhizobia from the region where lentil originated (Turkey and Syria) and regions to which lentil was introduced later (Germany and Bangladesh) were analyzed to determine their genetic diversity, population structure, and taxonomic position. There are four different lineages of rhizobia associated with lentil nodulation, of which three are new and endemic to Bangladesh, while Mediterranean and Central European lentil symbionts belong to the Rhizobium leguminosarum lineage. The endemic lentil grex pilosae may have played a significant role in the origin of these new lineages in Bangladesh. The presence of R. leguminosarum with lentil at the center of origin and in countries where lentil was introduced later suggests that R. leguminosarum is the original symbiont of lentil. Lentil seeds may have played a significant role in the initial dispersal of this Rhizobium species within the Middle East and on to other countries. Nodulation gene sequences revealed a high similarity to those of symbiovar viciae.

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