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A link between greenhouse gases and the evolution of C4 grasses
Date:12/20/2007

xplain this" The authors speculate that while an atmosphere low in carbon dioxide established the basic conditions necessary for C4 evolution, other ecological factors might be at work. In light of this, the authors hope to apply the same approaches used in the paper described here to investigate the role of other variables, such as drought, salinity, and flooding, in the evolution of C4 plants. In addition to improving our understanding of how climate changes influenced ecosystems in the past, such studies may allow predictions of how human activities could affect the planet in the future. Indeed, with regard to global carbon dioxide levels, Christin and colleagues write, Besides its influence on climatic variables, increased CO2 concentration could trigger important ecological changes in major terrestrial ecosystems by affecting the distribution of C4-dominated biomes and the affiliated flora and fauna. This implies that a reversal of the conditions that favored C4 plants could potentially lead to their demisea startling prospect if one considers the human races reliance on C4 crops like corn, sugarcane, sorghum, and millets.


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Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
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