DECLARATION
concerning creation of the Research Consortium working on Evolution of Plant-Microbe Interactions

The research on the evolution of symbiotic systems is of a crucial importance for the modern biology since symbioses provide the broad opportunities for generation of the novel organization, functions and adaptive properties in nearly all types of organisms. Beneficial and antagonistic plant-microbe interactions are broadly used as the promising models for the evolutionary research since these interactions are analyzed comprehensively at the molecular, genetic and ecological levels. A variety of fundamental biological processes including transitions between the free-living, pathogenic and symbiotic lifestyles, and the functional integration of the partnersí genes into super-organism regulatory networks may be studied using the plant-microbial models.

Evolutionary approaches are very important to understand the nature of plant-microbe interactions permitting us to: (i) integrate and compare different types of the empirical data and facilitate the experimental analyses of symbiotic systems; (ii) reconstruct the dynamics of microbial populations in the environment which is dependent greatly on their success in the habitats provided by eukaryotic hosts. The ecological challenges of 21 century suggest a necessity to create the novel ecologically friendly agricultural strategies, among which the most promising is a strategy of substituting the mineral fertilizers and pesticides by the microbial preparations. The artificial evolution of symbioses including the improvement of extant plant-microbial systems and construction of the novel ones should be clearly based on the detailed knowledge on mechanisms responsible for their natural evolution.

Proceeding from the fundamental and practical importance of evolutionary research in plant-microbe interactions we will to organize a Research Consortium in the frames of the AB-RMS network. This Consortium may constitute an informal group of scientists interested in Evolution research and effective application of Plant-Microbe Interactions. Its scope should cover a broad spectrum root-microbe systems, including endophytic, rhizospheric, symbiotic and pathogenic studied with respect to gene and molecular evolution, genome dynamics, population and molecular ecology, phylogeny/macroevolution studies, mathematical simulation, well as genetic construction and biological engineering of practically valuable symbiotic and biocontrol systems. Integration of specialists from diverse areas of theoretical, experimental and applied biology into the proposed Research Consortium may facilitate their cooperation, the exchange of ideas and data, synergistic efforts in promoting the evolutionary ideas into different areas of biology and in finding the additional opportunities to support the evolutionary studies. We suggest that many senior researchers and PhD students interested in the multidisciplinary research of Plant-Microbe Interactions may join the Consortium. In its activity the Consortium wish to cooperate with the broad spectrum of scientific organizations dealing with plant-microbe interactions and the evolutionary problems.

In order to specify your responses to our ideas, please answer several questions given below and return the replies to Organizing Committee on E-mail address <contact@arriam.spb.ru>.

1. Do you think, organization of the Research Consortium is useful and timely?:
- yes,
- no,
- comments...

2. What research topics would you like to propose for the activities in the Consortium?
(please give a title and/or a short description of aims/methods/possible results; totally no more than 500 items)

3. Which kinds of activities do you propose for the Consortium at this initial step of its organization?
- creation of a special website or a page in AB-RMS website
- preparation of a grant proposal (if possible, suggest a topic and a foundation to be applied)
- suggest a topic for the meeting or of section in some other meetings devoted to plant microbe interaction.

 All your suggestions concerning this initiative will be accepted with the gratitude.