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Cell and Molecular Biology
Beneficial members of the plant microbiome can increase nutrient availability for their hosts, protect their hosts against pathogens, and enhance host resilience against abiotic stress. While previous and ongoing studies of the rhizosphere microbiome have been critical for assessing the impact of specific plant-microbe interactions, their focus has overwhelmingly targeted bacterial and fungal members of the microbiome. Viruses are ubiquitous, outnumbering all other biological entities on the planet, yet they are remarkably understudied in the rhizosphere.
Single cell approaches are causing biologists to re-evaluate classical ideas of cell types and how they arise during embryonic development. One population of particular interest is the neural crest, because it migrates throughout the body to give rise to a huge variety of derivatives such as peripheral neurons, pigment cells and bones of the skull. How do such migratory cells navigate through ever-changing environments yet reliably acquire these diverse fates? Our single cell transcriptomic studies in zebrafish suggest that they do so through a series of lineage bifurcations.