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Nevin Dale Young, Principal Investigator
Distinguished McKnight University Professor
Department of Plant Pathology / 495 Borlaug Hall (Mailing address)
Department of Plant Biology / 250 BioScience Center
Office Address: 320 Cargill Building

University of Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota 55108 USA
Email: neviny@umn.edu

Voice: 612-625-2225 / Lab: 612-625-2221 / Fax: 612-625-9728
Office: 320 Cargill Building for Microbial and Plant Genomics
Lab: 350 Cargill Building for Microbial and Plant Genomics

Overview: Exploring Plant Genomes to Understand Symbiosis and Disease Resistance

My colleagues and I are interested in the genes that enable plants and microbes to communicate at a molecular level. We are especially interested in legumes (soybeans, peas, alfalfa, etc) and their symbiotic relationship with rhizobial bacteria. This symbiosis leads to the formation of root nodules, novel organs where plants and bacteria work together to fix nitrogen into a form that is biologically useful, an important source of natural fertilizer worldwide.

Medicago Rhizobium Root Nodule

We primarily use the tools of genomics (massive DNA sequencing combined with computational data-mining) in our work. The starting points are the genome sequences of two important legume models, soybean and Medicago truncatula. Building on these data resources, we work to understand the process of legume-bacterial evolution that has taken place over millions of years and resulted in the modern crops grown today.

Often, the same genes controlling symbiosis are also responsible for defense against disease pathogens. Understanding the genome architecture of symbiosis and disease resistance genes provides essential insights into sustainable strategies to manage and exploit plant-microbe interactions in agriculture.

Interesting Links

Selected Recent Publications

Bao Y, Vuong T, Meinhardt C, Tiffin P, Denny R, Chen S, Nguyen HT, Orf JH, Young ND (2014) Potential of association mapping and genomic selection to explore PI88788 derived soybean cyst nematode resistance. The Plant Genome 7(3) doi10.3835/plantgenome2013.11.0039.

Burghardt LT, Epstein B, Guhlin J, Nelson MS, Taylor MR, Young ND, Sadowsky MJ, Tiffin P (2018) Select and re-sequence reveals relative fitness of bacterial strains in symbiotic and free-living environments. Proceedings National Academy of Science USA, doi/10.1073/pnas.1714246115.

Burghardt, LT, Young ND, Tiffin P (2017) A guide to genome-wide association mapping in plants. Current Protocols in Plant Biology 2:22-38. doi: 10.1002/cppb.20041.

Curtin SJ, Tiffin P, Guhlin J, Trujillo DI, Burghardt LT, Atkins P, Baltes NJ, Denny R, Voytas DF, Stupar RM, Young ND (2017) Validating genome-wide association candidates controlling quantitative variation in nodulation. Plant Physiology 173: 921-931 doi: 10.1104/pp.16.01923.

Guhlin J, Silverstein KAT, Zhou P, Tiffin P, Young ND (2017) ODG: Omics database generator – a tool for generating, querying, and analyzing multi-omics databases to facilitate biological understanding. BMC Bioinformatics 18: 367. doi 10.1186/s12859-017-1777-7.

Stanton-Geddes J, Paape T, Epstein B, Briskine R, Yoder J, Mudge J, Bharti AK, Farmer AD, Zhou P, Denny R, May GD, Erlandson S, Sugawara M, Sadowsky MJ, Young ND, Tiffin P (2013) Candidate genes and genetic architecture of symbiotic and agronomic traits revealed by whole-genome, sequence-based association genetics in Medicago truncatula. PLoS ONE 8(5): e65688. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0065688.

Trujillo DI, Silverstein KAT, Young ND (2019) Nodule-specific PLAT domain proteins are expanded in the Medicago lineage and required for nodulation. New Phytologist 222(3) doi.org/10.1111/nph.15697.

Zhou P, Silverstein KAT, Thiruvarangan R, Guhlin J, Denny RL, Liu J, Farmer AD, Steele KP, Stupar RM, Miller JR, Tiffin PL, Mudge J, Young ND (2017) Exploring structural variation and gene family architecture with de novo assemblies of 15 Medicago genomes. BMC Genomics 18:261 doi 10.1186/s12864-017-3654-1.

Citation Classics

Branca A, Paape T, Zhou P, Briskine R, Farmer AD, Mudge J, Bharti AK, Woodward JE, May GD, Gentzbittel L, Ben C, Denny R, Sadowsky MJ, Ronfort J, Bataillon T, Young ND, Tiffin P (2011) Whole-genome nucleotide diversity, recombination, and linkage-disequilibrium in the model legume Medicago truncatula. Proceedings National Academy of Sciences USA 108: E864-870 doi: 10.1073/pnas.1104032108.

Cannon SB, Sterck L, Rombauts S, Sato S, Cheung F, Gouzy JP, Wang X, Mudge J, Vasdewani J, Schiex T, Spannagl M, Monaghan E, Nicholson C, Humphray SJ, Schoof H, Mayer KFX, Rogers J, Quétier F, Oldroyd GE, Debellé F, Cook DR, Roe BA, Town CD, Tabata S, Van de Peer Y, Young ND (2006) Legume evolution viewed through the Medicago truncatula and Lotus japonicus genomes. Proceedings National Academy Sciences USA, 103: 14959-14964.

Fatokun CA, Menancio-Hautea D, Danesh D, Young ND (1992) Evidence for orthologous seed weight genes in cowpea and mungbean based on RFLPs. Genetics 132: 841-846.

Meyers BC, Dickerman AW, Michelmore RW, Pecherer RM, Sivaramakrishnan S, Sobral BW, Young ND (1999) Plant disease resistance genes encode members of an ancient and diverse protein family within the nucleotide-binding superfamily. The Plant Journal 20: 317-332.

Young ND, Debellé F, Oldroyd GE, Geurts R, Cannon SB, Udvardi MK, Benedito VA, Mayer KFX, Gouzy J, Schoof H, et al (2011) The Medicago genome provides insight into the evolution of rhizobial symbioses. Nature 480: 520-524 doi: 10.1038/nature10625.

Young ND, Zamir D, Ganal M, Tanksley SD (1988) Use of isogenic lines and simultaneous probing to identify DNA markers tightly linked to the Tm-2a gene in tomato. Genetics 120: 579-585.


For general questions about the project or this web page, please contact: neviny@umn.edu
For questions regarding genomic and germplasm resources, please contact: denny004@umn.edu
For questions regarding Medicago hapmap website, please contact: epste051@umn.edu