News of the WeekPHYLOGENY

Deep Green Rewrites Evolutionary History of Plants

Science  13 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5430, pp. 990-991
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5430.990

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ST. LOUIS-- The first fruits of a 5-year effort to merge molecular, fossil, and morphological data to build a family tree for all green plants, dubbed Deep Green, ripened in time for the 16th International Botanical Congress, held here last week. Challenging long-held notions about the relationships among species, scientists reported that plants should be divided into three kingdoms rather than one, unveiled the most primitive living flowering species, and homed in on the "Eve," or mother, of all 500,000 green plant species. As genetic data add branches and leaves to the new family tree, biologists should be able to tap it for information on how to engineer useful traits, fight invasive species, identify organisms, and find potential medicines.

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