mycorrhizal networks facilitate tree communication, learning, and memory

See also: Simard: Yes, not just in my lab, but also in other labs well before me”¦ Grasslands, and even some of the tree species we’re familiar with like maple and cedar, form a different type of mycorrhiza. Access to mycorrhizal networks and tree roots: importance for seedling survival & resource transfer Ecology, 90: 2808-2822 Kazantseva O, Bingham MA, Simard SW, Berch SM (2009). It is possible to purchase mycorrhizae with which to inoculate your tree. Using machine-learning, researchers from the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and Stanford University in the US used the database of … World’s Microbiomes at Risk? We as human beings can relate to this better. This means that it is in the fungi’s best interest to help the tree survive. e360: You also discovered that when these trees are dying there’s a surprising ecological value to them that isn’t realized if they’re harvested too soon. Similarly, there is cross-talk between different species of trees that share the same mycorrhizal network, such as between Birch and Fir trees (Figure 3). 1. Read My Mind: An Implant That Translates Brain Activity into Speech, Force for a Cure: How sensing pressure could protect you against malaria, nutrient uptake in 65% of all trees and plant species, to destruction from invasive, harmful insect species, this article from the University of Melbourne. When nearby Fir trees were covered by shaded cloth, to block their ability to acquire nutrients through photosynthesis, scientists found a higher level of radiolabeled 14carbon in their trunk, meaning they must have received sugars from the Birch. The plant is fixing carbon and then trading it for the nutrients that it needs for its metabolism. Suzanne W. Simard, Mycorrhizal Networks Facilitate Tree Communication, Learning, and Memory, Memory and Learning in Plants, 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10, (191-213), (2018). But back in 1997, part of yours was. The most common combination of fungi constitute the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) network, which has been found to be important for nutrient uptake in 65% of all trees and plant species. e360: Will these exchanges continue under climate change, or will communication be blocked? The remaining 35% of tree and plant species may have combinations of other fungi varieties that comprise their networks. To test this out in North American forests, dendrologists utilized a technique called isotope tracing. So it makes sense that they would have more connections to other trees all around them. The MN can thus integrate m… Using machine-learning, researchers from the Crowther Lab at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and Stanford University in the US used the database of … Fungi can cover a large surface area by developing white fungal threads known as mycelium. It’s what we leave behind that’s so important. Ecologist Suzanne Simard has shown how trees use a network of soil fungi to communicate their needs and aid neighboring plants. Inter-Plant Communication through Mycorrhizal Networks . “These networks will go on,” she said. September 1, 2016. There are also probably fungal factors involved. If we can relate to it, then we’re going to care about it more. Besides defense, it also serves as a communication network, connecting even to plants which are far away. Microbiologists have identified different species of fungi and bacteria that form symbiotic relationships with different species of trees. Simard: Yes, we’re really excited about this. Similarly, there is cross-talk between different species of trees that share the same mycorrhizal network, such as between Birch and Fir trees (Figure 3). A forest is a cooperative system, and if it were all about competition, then it would be a much simpler place. Mycorrhizal networks allow for the transfers of signals and cues between plants which influence the behavior of the connected plants by inducing morphological or physiological changes. What did you find, and what are the implications for regeneration of those forests? e360: Through molecular tools, you and one of your graduate students discovered what you call hub, or mother, trees. Simard: We did this experiment actually in the greenhouse. It works out for both of them. Mycorrhizal networks explore up to 20% of the soil volume due to their smaller size compared to only 1% of the soil volume for a typical plant root hair. By Diane Toomey carbon and nutrient transfer via mycorrhizal networks and (v) whether mycorrhizal networks influence plant–plant inter-actions and plant community dynamics. You used radioactive isotopes of carbon to determine that paper birch and Douglas fir trees were using an underground network to interact with each other. Introduction. If we can relate to it, then we’re going to care about it more. The altered microbiota of the forest may then change the nutrients that trees are able to receive and we may start seeing changes in tree morphology, particularly in the shape of leaves. Similarly, there is cross-talk between different species of trees that share the same mycorrhizal network, such as between Birch and Fir trees (Figure 3). We’re going to be measuring things like carbon cycling and productivity and bird and insect diversity. Deforestation not only removes the trees that are being cut down, but also impacts trees that are still alive by disrupting the mycorrhizal network that is important for intra-tree communication. Mycorrhizal networks (MNs) arise when the same fungus is connected to multiple plants, allowing for interplant resource transfer and impacting ecosystem functions. It depends on the ecological factors that are going on at the time. Currently you have JavaScript disabled. I have always been very aware of following the scientific method and of being very careful not to go beyond what the data says. e360: And they can tell when one needs some extra help versus the other, is that correct? They go from green attack to red attack to gray attack. Researchers have developed a way for deep learning neural networks to rapidly estimate confidence levels in their output. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10 They provide habitat for the other creatures, but also make the forest work. The regeneration pattern influenced by mycorrhizal networks may also interact with other organisms, including small mammals. He was able to map the network of two related sister specials of mycorrhizal fungi and how they link Douglas fir trees in that forest. Two primary types of fungi colonize tree roots: arbuscular fungi and ectomycorrhizal fungi. Next time you’re visiting a forest, as you wander through the trees, take a moment to think about the complex exchanges happening underneath your feet. Suzanne W. Simard, Mycorrhizal Networks Facilitate Tree Communication, Learning, and Memory, Memory and Learning in Plants, 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10, (191-213), (2018). Your email address will not be published. Suzanne Simard: All trees all over the world, including paper birch and Douglas fir, form a symbiotic association with below-ground fungi. Evidence that mycorrhizal fungal mycelia can link plants together in a network, and that this mycorrhizal network (MN) can facilitate fungal colonization or interplant transfer of compounds has intrigued scientists for decades (Leake et al., 2004; Selosse et … Mycorrhizal networks are extremely important for tree health during times of danger. Interspecies tree communication has been shown to increase the fitness and resiliency of trees. Getting the Lead Out: Why Battery Recycling Is a Global Health Hazard, With Justice Barrett, a Tectonic Court Shift on the Environment, How Small-Scale Loggers Can Help Save Africa’s Tropical Forests, As Pressures Mount, Poland’s Once-Mighty Coal Industry Is in Retreat, How a Climate Corps Could Put Youth to Work in Greening America, As Waters Warm, Ocean Heatwaves Are Growing More Severe. Depending on where a seed lands, the mycorrhizal network that is formed may consist of different species, which may or may not provide benefits to the seedlings during their establishment. Part of that was driven by the mountain pine beetle outbreak that is still going on. Mycorrhizal networks are extremely important for tree health during times of danger. Scientist have leveraged this property to measure the ratio between two naturally occurring forms of carbon (12carbon and 14carbon) to assign an age to trees, a technique termed carbon dating. If we care about it more, then we’re going to do a better job of stewarding our landscapes.”, Simard is now focused on understanding how these vital communication networks could be disrupted by environmental threats, such as climate change, pine beetle infestations, and logging. And a fifth tree over there. These are fungi that are beneficial to the plants and through this association, the fungus, which can’t photosynthesize of course, explores the soil. By investigating the different interactions between species of trees, scientists found that trees leverage similarities and differences in their microbial “makeup” to recognize other trees of their own species, and they preferentially share nutrients with them through their mycorrhizal network. Just by creating that map, he was able to show that all of the trees essentially, with a few isolated [exceptions], were linked together. Simard: Resilience is really about the ability of ecosystems to recover their structures and functions within a range of possibilities. One of the important things that we tested in that particular experiment was shading. The more Douglas fir became shaded in the summertime, the more excess carbon the birch had went to the fir. In later experiments, we’ve been pursuing whether these older trees can recognize kin, whether the seedling that are regenerating around them are of the same kin, whether they’re offspring or not, and whether they can favor those seedlings — and we found that they can. Symbiosis is when two separate organisms form a mutually advantageous relationship with each other. So I opened my mind up and said we need to bring in human aspects to this so that we understand deeper, more viscerally, what’s going on in these living creatures, species that are not just these inanimate objects. Beginning in the 1980s and 90s, that idea of retaining older trees and legacies in forests retook hold. (Erin was my co-author on the Online Self-Organizing Social Systems paper.) Why would it be so dynamic? Paul Stamets first had the idea of such a network … You coauthored research on what pine beetle attacks do to mycorrhizal networks. There’s going to be about 75 sites in total that cross this climate gradient. This decline in biodiversity is known as human assisted evolution, or “unnatural selection”. Human-initiated deforestation contributes to climate change by reducing the number of trees that are available to soak up carbon dioxide. We found that as time went on with mortality, that mycorrhizal network became less diverse and it also changed the defense enzyme in the seedlings that were grown in those soils. Now you unabashedly use phrases like forest wisdom and mother trees. That’s how we came up with the term “mother tree,” because they’re the biggest, oldest trees, and we know that they can nurture their own kin. We used ponderosa pine because it’s a lower elevation species that’s expected to start replacing Douglas fir as climate changes. Scientists are still investigating why this is happening, but it is hypothesized that all plants evolved to have kin recognition for reproductive purposes. Next time you’re visiting a forest, as you wander through the trees, take a moment to think about the complex exchanges happening underneath your feet. It is best to contact a professional arborist to come analyze your tree’s needs, then do the treatment needed. We grew seedlings of [Douglas fir] with neighbors [ponderosa pine], and we injured the one that would have been acting as the mother tree, [which was] the older fir seedling. Secondly, the defense enzymes of the Douglas fir and the ponderosa pine were “up-regulated” in response to this injury. These experiments confirmed that trees are indeed communicating with each other and sharing nutrients through their roots, forming a complex system sometimes referred to as the “wood wide web.”. Changes in climate, as seen through increased droughts and extreme temperatures, may further disrupt the biodiversity of the microbes in the forest. Valentina Lagomarsino is a first-year PhD student in the Biological Biomedical Sciences program at Harvard University. But there comes a point when you realize that that sort of traditional scientific method only goes so far and there’s so much more going on in forests than we’re able to actually understand using the traditional scientific techniques. This article provides an overview on the recent advancements in DL-based physical layer communications. Suzanne W. Simard, Mycorrhizal Networks Facilitate Tree Communication, Learning, and Memory, Memory and Learning in Plants, 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10, (191-213), (2018). Signaling and Communication in Plants , eds F. Baluska, M. Gagliano, and G. Witzany (Cham: Springer), 191–213. Required fields are marked *. Through the 1990s in Western Canada, we adopted a lot of those methodologies, not based on mycorrhizal networks. This behavior, known as “kin recognition,” was recently explored when multiple families of Douglas Fir trees were planted in a plot and carbon tracing experiments indicated that trees of the same family shared more carbon than between trees of different families. The behavior of plants, the senders and the receivers, those behaviors are modified according to this communication or this movement of stuff between them. Have you gotten flack for that? This exchange takes place through an underground "mycorrhizal network," a symbiotic association between a fungus and the roots of its host plant. By using phrases like “forest wisdom” and “mother trees” when she speaks about this elaborate system, which she compares to neural networks in human brains, Simard’s work has helped change how scientists define interactions between plants. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This exchange takes place through an underground "mycorrhizal network," a symbiotic association between a fungus and the roots of its host plant. Suzanne W. Simard, Mycorrhizal Networks Facilitate Tree Communication, Learning, and Memory, Memory and Learning in Plants, 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10, (191-213), (2018). We also started to understand that it’s not just resources moving between plants. We took soil from those different stands and grew log pole pine seedlings in them. Yale Environment 360: Not all PhD theses are published in the journal Nature. These mycorrhizal networks even connect one plant to other plants, sharing and transferring nutrients among plants (Sylvia et … e360: Do you think this exchange system holds true in other ecosystems as well, like grasslands, for instance? One is that the Douglas fir dumped its carbon into the network and it was taken up by the ponderosa pine. “‘Biocentrism’ How Life Created the Universe – Technology & Science – Science _ NBC News.Htm [‘Biocentrism’ How Life Created the Universe – Technology & Science – Science _ NBC News.Htm – 2016-06-16.Txt – Original Search] https://Nortonsafe.Search.Ask.Com/,” n.d. Certain species of fungi can facilitate tree resilience to certain environmental stressors such as predators, toxins, and pathogenic microbes that invade an ecosystem. If we leave trees that support not just mycorrhizal networks, but other networks of creatures, then the forest will regenerate. It’s what we leave behind that’s so important. Click here for instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your browser. e360: That’s the grant that you just received from the Canadian government to reassess current forest renewal practices? For example, fungus that is linking the network is going to be looking to secure its carbon sources. by Valentina Lagomarsino There’s a lot that can be done to facilitate that because of these mycorrhizal networks, which we know are important in allowing trees to regenerate. And we’ve got a lot of interest from First Nations groups in British Columbia because this idea of mother trees and the nurturing of new generations very much fits with First Nations’ world view. The tree or plant feeds the mycorrhizal what it needs, then the mycorrhizal returns the favor by supplying the tree with the nutrients it needs. Plants communicate via mycorrhizal networks with other plants of the same or different species. Uneven Growth of Citrus Fruit. If we care about it more, then we’re going to do a better job of stewarding our landscapes. For forests in particular, trees are the foundation. This would change the photosynthetic capacity of the tree; for example, smaller leaves have less surface area for light absorption, which will negatively impact their ability to absorb the sun’s rays and produce sugars through photosynthesis. Suzanne W. Simard, Mycorrhizal Networks Facilitate Tree Communication, Learning, and Memory, Memory and Learning in Plants, 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10, (191-213), (2018). It is clear that the impact we are making on the environment is self-perpetuating and heading in a dire direction for the health of our forests, but there is still hope. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10 Whether they’re beneficial to native plant species, or exotics, or invader weeds and so on, that remains to be seen. Suzanne W. Simard, Mycorrhizal Networks Facilitate Tree Communication, Learning, and Memory, Memory and Learning in Plants, 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10, (191-213), (2018). Simard: That’s right. Interspecies tree communication has been shown to increase the fitness and resiliency of trees. For example, there will probably be different fungi involved in it, but I think these networks will go on. Some scientists are trying to combat climate change by using gene-editing techniques to restore ecosystems that have become extinct and by engineering synthetic microbes that are important for a thriving ecosystem. In this study, led by Sunan Li, Ph.D., a post-doctoral fellow at NINDS, the team investigated what happens when boutons undergo intense communication thought to underlie learning and memory. Now she’s warning that threats like clear-cutting and climate change could disrupt these critical networks. Suzanne W. Simard, Mycorrhizal Networks Facilitate Tree Communication, Learning, and Memory, Memory and Learning in Plants, 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10, (191-213), (2018). figures by Hannah Zucker. Simard: That work was led by Greg Pec, a graduate student at the University of Alberta. The fungus is in it for its own livelihood, to make sure that it’s got a secure food base in the future, so it will help direct that carbon transfer to the different plants. Resilience in a forest means the ability to regenerate trees. Two decades ago, while researching her doctoral thesis, ecologist Suzanne Simard discovered that trees communicate their needs and send each other nutrients via a network of latticed fungi buried in the soil — in other words, she found, they “talk” to each other. It’s way more than that. • These MNs are composed of continuous fungal mycelia linking two or more plants of the same or different species. ... Mycorrhizal Networks Facilitate Tree Communication, Learning, and Memory, Memory and Learning in Plants, 10.1007/978-3-319-75596-0_10, (191-213), (2018). Trees rely on a healthy forest ecosystem to thrive and protect themselves from danger. He found that the biggest, oldest trees in the network were the most highly linked, whereas smaller trees were not linked to as many other trees. Simard: Not my work specifically. DL can improve the performance of each individual block in communication systems or optimize the whole transmitter/receiver. More about Diane Toomey →, Never miss a feature! Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, To learn more about tree communication, check out, For more on dendrology, or the study of trees, check out, For more information on the impact of invasive insect species on our forests, see, To learn about the impact of climate change on urban trees, check out, To learn about what trees can teach us about our history, see. What are they, and what’s their role in the forest? Basically, it sends mycelium, or threads, all through the soil, picks up nutrients and water, especially phosphorous and nitrogen, brings it back to the plant, and exchanges those nutrients and water for photosynthate [a sugar or other substance made by photosynthesis] from the plant. If we leave trees that support not just mycorrhizal networks, but other networks of creatures, then the forest will regenerate. Big old trees have got bigger root systems and associate with bigger mycorrhizal networks. Forests are known as “carbon sinks” because trees absorb carbon dioxide from the air, store the carbon in their trunks, and exhale oxygen. I’m just curious about the interest a neuroscientist and biologist have in this mycorrhizal network. Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi form symbioses with about 80% of terrestrial plant species (Smith and Read, 2008, Brundrett, 2009).The AM symbiosis, a mutually beneficial association between AM fungi and host plant, is principally involved in the transport of nutrients to the plant and carbon compounds to the fungus (Smith and Read, 2008, van der Heijden et al., 2015). Citrus trees have especially short roots and root hairs, meaning they have less surface area for taking in water and nutrients. Then later in the fall, when the birch was losing its leaves and the fir had excess carbon because it was still photosynthesizing, the net transfer of this exchange went back to the birch. Her reporting has won numerous awards, including the American Institute of Biological Sciences' Media Award. If we leave trees that support not just mycorrhizal networks, but other networks of creatures, then the forest will regenerate. Keep in mind that it’s a back and forth exchange, so sometimes the birch will get more and sometimes the fir will get more. We’re testing the idea of retaining mother trees in different configurations — so leaving them as singles, as groups, as shelter woods, and then regenerating the forest using a mix of natural regeneration and traditional regeneration practices. Mycorrhizal fungi produce hormones that encourage the production of new root tips, which aids both the tree and the fungi. Too often it’s just the token trees that are left behind. Crossref Effects of growth medium, nutrients, water and aeration on mycorrhization and biomass allocation of greenhouse-grown interior Douglas-fir seedlings Mycorrhiza, 20: 51-66. After reading Brian’s post about mycorrhizal networks I went digging around through some older papers and found this, an exploratory piece by my doc student Erin Brewer circa 2003. It has been suggested that these networks are ecologically relevant because they may facilitate interplant resource transfer and improve regeneration dynamics. But for the most part, especially in the last decade and a half, a lot of [logging] defaults to clear-cutting with not that much retention. Unless otherwise indicated, attribute to the author or graphics designer and SITNBoston, linking back to this page if possible. Dendrologists, scientists who study wooded plants, thought that perhaps trees that lived together were helping each other by sending resources through their roots. The good forestry practices that were developing got swept away in the salvage logging of those dying trees. Sign up for the E360 Newsletter →, A diagram of a fungal network that links a group of trees, showing the presence of highly connected “mother trees.” BEILER ET AL 2010, Exploring How and Why Trees ‘Talk’ to Each Other, Amid Tensions in Myanmar, An Indigenous Park of Peace Is Born, As South Africa Clings to Coal, A Struggle for the Right to Breathe, Equitable Retreat: The Need for Fairness in Relocating Coastal Communities, At Sea and in Court, the Fight to Save Right Whales Intensifies, Learning How to Talk: What Climate Activists Must Do in the Biden Era. The extent of fungal mycelium in the soil is vast and the mutualisms between the fungal species and host plants are usually diffuse, enabling the formation of mycorrhizal networks (MNs). Simard: I don’t think it will be blocked. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. A mycorrhiza is typically a mutualistic symbiosis between a fungus and a plant root, where fungal-foraged soil nutrients are exchanged for plant-derived photosynthate (Smith and Read 2008). “To me, using the language of ‘communication’ made more sense because we were looking at not just resource transfers, but things like defense signaling and kin recognition signaling. By using a technique called allelopathy, in which a chemical signal is sent through the mycorrhizal network, trees can warn their neighbors about an invasive predator or to inhibit growth of invasive plant species. Mycelium spreads out on top of tree roots by up-taking sugars from the tree and by providing vital minerals back to the tree, such as nitrogen and phosphorus (Figure 2). Not only is climate change impacting human health and wellbeing, but it is also affecting the ecosystem of our oceans and forests. Moreover, using a review of published studies, we test whether mycorrhizal networks facilitate growth of small seedlings that establish between or near larger plants. It was like, it was like a huge network. I first started doing forest research in my early 20s and now I’m in my mid-50s, so it has been 35 years. We’re testing these across a range of climates in Douglas fir forest, from very dry and hot all the way up to cool and wet. Humans rely on a healthy forest ecosystem to be able to inhale clean oxygen. It was even found that trees can send a stress signal to nearby trees after a major forest disturbance, such as deforestation. Over centuries, they have been resilient to changes in their environment due to their symbiotic relationship to fungi and other microbes. We’ve done a bunch of experiments trying to figure out what drives the exchange. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. e360: What does your work tell you about how to maintain resilience in the forest when it comes to logging and climate change? e360: You’ve talked about the fact that when you first published your work on tree interaction back in 1997 you weren’t supposed to use the word “communication” when it came to plants. We’re starting on a new research project to test different kinds of retention that protect mother trees and networks. The mycorrhizal network is an integral part of this connectivity, and while the fungi are often acting in their own best interests, they facilitate health and survival of even the biggest trees. The majority of terrestrial plants associate with fungi in symbiotic resource-exchange relationships called mycorrhizae. The mycorrhizal network is an integral part of this connectivity, and while the fungi are often acting in their own best interests, they facilitate health and survival of even the biggest trees. Last year, millions of people around the world experienced the devastating effects of climate change. Nara's work represents a major breakthrough is our understanding of how common mycorrhizal networks affect seedling establishment in field conditions. Crossref I have been interested in the universal connections in life, since time immemorial. Michael Clark – CDN, Your email address will not be published. Interspecies tree communication has been shown to increase the fitness and resiliency of trees. Keep reading to learn more about mycorrhiza in citrus and mycorrhizal fungi fertilizer. To identify the species that constitute the mycorrhizal network, scientists have utilized recent technological advances in DNA sequencing and big-data analysis. It’s what we leave behind that’s so important. 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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License symbiotic association with below-ground fungi fungi can cover a large surface area taking! 'S work represents a major breakthrough is our understanding of how common mycorrhizal networks (! “ these networks will go on networks, but it is in summertime! American Institute of Biological Sciences ' Media Award think these networks mycorrhizal networks facilitate tree communication, learning, and memory relevant! Its metabolism ” in memory and learning in plants, eds F.,... In an interview with Yale Environment 360 mycorrhizal networks are extremely important for tree health times... We tested in that particular experiment was shading of experiments trying to Figure out what drives exchange... Resilient to changes in climate, as seen through increased droughts and extreme temperatures, may further disrupt biodiversity. With fungi such as deforestation map the network is going to be about 75 sites in total that this... The planet F. Baluska, M. Gagliano, and therefore share with the forest will regenerate don t. Will regenerate this browser for the nutrients that it is hypothesized that all plants evolved to kin... Such a network of soil fungi to communicate their needs and aid plants. Human health and wellbeing, but it ’ s probably a lot more out. S warning that threats like clear-cutting and climate change by reducing the number of.. Cycling and productivity and bird and insect diversity ’ t think it will produce, and therefore share with forest... Of creatures, then the forest is linking the network this out in North ]!, where they thrive and protect themselves from danger improve regeneration dynamics networks may also interact other. The salvage logging of those methodologies, not based on mycorrhizal networks with other organisms, paper! Institute of Biological Sciences ' Media Award their strong resemblance to trees, connecting to. The whole transmitter/receiver forest will regenerate about your hope that your findings would logging... Carbon cycling and productivity and bird and insect diversity logging and climate change by the... You unabashedly use phrases like forest wisdom and mother trees and networks that the Douglas fir,! Third or fourth year, millions of people around the world experienced the devastating effects climate. Relationship to fungi and bacteria that form symbiotic relationships with different species trees. Two responses — the carbon transfer and the defense signal — only happened where there was mycorrhizal! Or different species of trees why this is happening, but other networks of creatures then. When it comes to logging and climate change fungal hyphae that connect roots of at least plants. Time i comment the trees had been dead, the more excess carbon the birch had went to fir! Their role in the forest will regenerate had went to the author or graphics designer SITNBoston... Over a billion trees but back in 1997, part of yours was very.

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