Four hundred-million-year-old vesicular arbuscular mycorrhizae

  • Remy W
  • Taylor T
  • Hass H
 et al. 
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Abstract

The discovery of arbuscules in Aglaophyton major, an Early Devonian land plant, provides unequivocal evidence that mycorrhlizae were estabised >400 million years ago. Nonseptate hyphae and arbuscules occur in a specialized meristematic region ofthe cortex that continually provided new cells for fungal infection. Arbuscules are morphologically identical to those of living arbuscular mycorrhizae in consisting of a basal trunk and repeatedly branched bush-like tuft within the plant cell. Although interpretations of the evolution of mycorrhizal mutualisms continue to be speulative, the exis- tence of arbuscules in the Early Devonian indicates that nutrient transfer mutualism may have been in existence when plants invaded the land.

Author-supplied keywords

  • endomycorrhizae
  • fossil fungi
  • mutualism
  • symbiosis

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Authors

  • Winfried Remy

  • Thomas N Taylor

  • Hagen Hass

  • Hans Kerp

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