Since Charles Darwin heralded evolution more than 150 years ago, scientists have sought to better understand when and how the vast variety of plants today diverged from common ancestors.
A new University of Georgia study, just published in Nature, demonstrates key events in plant evolution. It allows scientists to infer what the gene order may have looked like in a common ancestor of higher plants. And it shows one way plants may have differentiated from their ancestors and each other.
"By studying the completed sequence of the smallest flowering plant, Arabidopsis, we showed that most of its genes were duplicated about 200 million years ago and duplicated again about 80 million years ago," said Andrew Paterson, a UGA plant geneticist and director of the study. "The ensuing loss of extra genes caused many of the differences among modern plants."
Kim Carlyle | EurekAlert!
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