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Study Shows Genetic Origins of How Plants Evolved from Living in Water to Land
Posted by: Prof. Dr. M. Raupp (IP Logged)
Date: January 28, 2020 09:27AM

A collaborative research team from the Universities of Bristol and Essex
announced that they have specifically identified two periods in time that
genomic novelty played a major role in the evolution of land plants, leading
to multi-cellularity and terrestrialization. These bursts of genomic novelty
gave scientists better insight regarding gene novelty in plant evolution and
challenged the established view of the origins of plants on land.

The scientists investigated 208 genomes through an evolutionary genomics
pipeline. This allowed the scientists to essentially travel 470 million
years back and identify which genes were already present in the first
land-based plants during their evolution from growing in water to land. They
discovered that there were two gene explosions, a term that the scientists
used to describe an unprecedented level of genomic novelty rather than
occurring at a gradual level as previously thought. They state that the
first burst happened before plants adapted to growing on land and that this
specific burst explains why plants are multi-cellular. The second burst
accords with the origin of land plants. Genes evolved during this burst are
related to how plants on land adapted to the terrestrial environment. These
findings highlight the biological processes involved with the evolution of
land plants and emphasize the importance of conserved gene novelties in
plant diversification.

The team plans to use the same method to further study genes involved in
drought tolerance. According to them, the method may help them identify
drought resistance genes in crops and may lead to the introduction of
dessication-sensitive plants.


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