Dr. Young's lab uses genomics to understand the genetics of legumes, the family of plants that includes crops like soybean, pea, and alfalfa. Their starting points are the genome sequences for soybean and a model legume, Medicago truncatula, a close relative of alfalfa. They are especially interested in the genes and proteins that are responsible for plant-microbe interactions, including symbiosis and disease resistance. By exploring the DNA sequences of genes involved in plant-microbe communication, they gain insights into the fundamental properties of genetic diversity and molecular evolution. In the process, their discoveries enable powerful new tools for developing more sustainable practices in agriculture.