News FocusPlant Biology

Green Genomes

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Science  17 Jun 2011:
Vol. 332, Issue 6036, pp. 1372-1375
DOI: 10.1126/science.332.6036.1372

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Nearly 30 plant genomes are now available for analysis and comparison, containing no shortage of surprises and insights into how the planet's flora and their DNA evolve. To date, angiosperms, flowering plants that produce seeds and make up the majority of flora seen on Earth today, dominate the roster of the sequenced genomes. But a few other genomes come from species—algae, a moss, the spikemoss—representing key stages in the evolution of land plants. These DNA sequences are beginning to reveal what it took for plants to move onto land, grow tall, and produce seeds and flowers. For example, many genes key to the colorful blossoms that brighten the landscape turn out to have unexpectedly deep evolutionary roots, some stretching back to algae. The genomes are also showing that plant evolution is surprisingly dynamic.