Sciences. – How plants evolved to colonize the mainland – Publimetro México


Madrid, 16 (European press)

One of the largest plant genome data sets has revealed how early plants on Earth evolved mechanisms to control water and leaching on dry land.

The University of Bristol and University of Essex study, published in New Phytologist, has important implications for understanding how plant water transport systems have evolved and how they may adapt in the future in response to climate change.

Over the past 500 million years, the evolution of terrestrial plants has supported the diversity of life on an increasingly green planet. During their evolution, plants have acquired adaptations such as leaves and roots, which allow them to control water and colonize land. Some of these “tools” evolved in early land plants and are found today in both small mosses and giant trees that make up complex forest ecosystems.

Researchers from the Essex School of Life Sciences and Bristol Schools of Biological Sciences and Geographical Sciences first compared the genes of 532 plant species to investigate the role of new and old genes in the genesis of these adaptations. Of these, the team focused on 218 genes that were associated with key innovations in the evolution of land plants, such as roots and vascular tissue.

They found that some basic early features of Earth’s plants, such as stomata (the pores that plants use for “breathing”), are linked to the origin of the new genes. By contrast, later innovations (such as roots and the vascular system) recycle ancient genes that arose in the ancestors of land plants and showed that different parts of plant anatomy (stomata, vascular tissues, and roots) involved in water transport were related to different ways of gene evolution.

Dr Jordi Babs, co-lead author and senior lecturer at the Bristol School of Biological Sciences, explained: “Our analyzes shed new light on the genetic basis of the planet’s greenness, highlighting the different pathways of genetic evolution in the diversification of the planet’s plants. kingdom. Historically, it has not been clear whether evolutionary innovations were driven by the emergence of new genes or the reuse of old ones.”

“Our findings tell us how plants have evolved at different times in their history and how different patterns of evolution, the origin of new genes and the recycling of old genes, have contributed to major innovations important for greening the planet,” it states.

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