In this review we will first describe the different steps leading to nodule formation, and these will be compared with processes of non-symbiotic plant development and growth. In general, aspects of both actinorhizal as well as rhizobial symbiosis are described, but in several cases, the emphasis will be on the Rhizobium-legume symbiosis because more knowledge of this system is available. Subsequently, the phylogeny of nodulating plants is described and a comparison is made between several aspects of legume and actinorhizal nodulation. At the end of this paper the relationship between nodule symbiosis and endomycorrhizal symbiosis is described, and it is discussed to what extent the development of root nodules involves unique properties, or whether processes and genes have been recruited from common plant development and the endomycorrhizal symbiosis.
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