‘Genetic programs’ allowed the ancestor of all plants to conquer dry land | Science

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The first land plants burst forth from ancient algae onto the Earth about 550 million years ago. This one-off evolutionary event, known as plant terrestrialization, fundamentally changed the planet’s surface and atmosphere and made possible the development of all other terrestrial life – including humans.

Now, led by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, a team of 50 scientists from 20 research institutions worldwide has mapped the genome of four strains of that ancient Zygnema algae, uncovering the genetic innovations of the earliest land plants.

“This is an evolution story,” said Yanbin Yin, a computational biologist from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and co-corresponding author of the study. “It answers the fundamental question of how the earliest land plants evolved from aquatic freshwater algae.”

Genome sequencing is the process of determining an organism’s complete genetic material (DNA), which is assembled into a computational representation. It provides a valuable resource for studying species evolution and understanding genetic diversity. A whole genome sequence is more useful if the assembly is at the level of the chromosomes, where genes are…

Source newatlas.com

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