July 5th – Agrobacterium tumefaciens (updated scientific name Rhizobium radiobacter, synonym Agrobacterium radiobacter) is the causal agent of crown gall disease (the formation of tumours) in over 140 species of eudicots. It is a rod-shaped, Gram-negative soil bacterium. Symptoms are caused by the insertion of a small segment of DNA (known as the T-DNA, for ‘transfer DNA’, not to be confused with tRNA that transfers amino acids during protein synthesis, confusingly also called transfer RNA), from a plasmid, into the plant cell, which is incorporated at a semi-random location into the plant genome. A. tumefaciens is an alphaproteobacterium of the family Rhizobiaceae, which includes the nitrogen-fixing legume symbionts. Unlike the nitrogen-fixing symbionts, tumor-producing Agrobacterium species are pathogenic and do not benefit the plant. The wide variety of plants affected by Agrobacterium makes it of great concern to the agriculture industry. Economically, A. tumefaciens is a serious pathogen of walnuts, grape vines, stone fruits, nut trees, sugar beets, horse radish, and rhubarb.