First Advisor

Daniel Ballhorn

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology and University Honors




Frankia, Actinorhizal plants, Plant-pathogen relationships, Actinorhizas, Red alder, Alnus incana




The genus Frankia is made up of actinomycetes, nitrogen-fixing bacteria that form symbioses with actinorhizal trees (Benson and Silvester, 1993). With the first isolation of Frankia not occurring until 1978 (Torrey et al., 1978), far less research has been conducted on these actinomycetes in comparison to the nitrogen-fixing bacteria of leguminous plants, rhizobia. Thus, there is still much to be learned regarding genetics and host plant specificity of Frankia. This study was performed to evaluate possible genetic diversity amongst samples of a sympatric population of Red Alder (Alnus rubra) and White Alder (Alnus rhombifolia). Sanger sequencing methods were used to target the nifH gene of Frankia. Results showed some genetic differences and grouping amongst the collected samples, however, none of these differences were directly correlated to the species of Alder, or the relative geographic location.


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