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'Til death do us part': coming to terms with symbiotic relationships


Symbiotic interactions of microorganisms are widespread in nature, and support fundamentally important processes in diverse areas of biology that range from health and disease to ecology and the environment. Here, David Relman discusses the selection of articles in this Focus issue, which reflects the exciting advances in our understanding of intimate partnerships between organisms and their environments.

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Figure 1: Features of the Anabaena–Rhizobium symbiosis.


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    Behrens, S. et al. Linking microbial phylogeny to metabolic activity at the single cell level using enhanced element labeling–catalyzed reporter deposition fluorescence in situ hybridization (EL–FISH) and NanoSIMS. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 74, 3143–3150 (2008).

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D.A.R. is supported by a National Institutes of Health Director's Pioneer Award and a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award.

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Relman, D. 'Til death do us part': coming to terms with symbiotic relationships. Nat Rev Microbiol 6, 721–724 (2008).

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