PRECS student projects

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2023


  • Mutualism is an interaction in which two organisms benefit from each other.
  • The symbiotic relationship between the bacterium Sinorhizobium meliloti and the plant Medicago truncatula is dictated by the bacterial plasmids.
  • The Heath lab has a collection of 191 Sinorhizobium meliloti strains with different symbiotic plasmids that vary across populations (Riley et al., 2022).
  • Each strain can be a better or worse partner for its plant host in symbiosis with the variation in fitness being called partner quality (Fig. 1)
  • These traits can be traced back to the genetic elements that underlie this effect (Batstone et al.,
  • These genetic elements can be found in gene clusters that are gained or loss across strains (Fig. 1; Riaz, Sosa Marquez, in prep.).

We need assurances of these important and variable clusters presence to understand their mechanism of gene movement


Copyright is owned by the creators of this work.


Research featured in this poster has been conducted with the cooperation of the

Department of Microbiology and the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology

at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.



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