Navigation Links
Adjustable valves gave ancient plants the edge
Date:6/9/2011

Controlling water loss is an important ability for modern land plants as it helps them thrive in changing environments. New research from the University of Bristol, published today in the journal Current Biology, shows that water conserving innovations occurred very early in plants' evolutionary history.

The research focused on the role of stomata, microscopic pores in the surface of leaves that allow carbon dioxide gas to be taken up for use in photosynthesis, while at the same time allowing water to escape. Instead of being fixed pores in the leaf, rather like a sieve, the stomata of modern plants are more like valves that open and close on demand. They do this in response to environmental and chemical signals, such as light and carbon dioxide, therefore balancing the photosynthetic and water requirements of the plant. Therefore, a key evolutionary question is: when did plants develop these 'active' mechanisms of stomatal control?

Elizabeth Ruszala, a Gatsby Charitable Foundation-funded PhD student working in Professor Alistair Hetherington's research group in the School of Biological Sciences, studied the stomata of Selaginella uncinata, a member of a primitive group of plants called spikemosses, which first appeared approximately 400 million years ago.

Significantly, not only were the stomata of this ancient group of land plants able to open and close in response to changes in light and carbon dioxide, they also responded to the key plant hormone abscisic acid which regulates stomatal function especially under drought conditions in modern plants.

These results show that the ability to regulate stomatal aperture in response to changing environmental conditions was already present very early in plant evolution.

Research on understanding how stomata work is also directly relevant to the agriculture needs of the twenty-first century because a key target for crop breeders is the development of new varieties that produce excellent yields but use less water in the process.

Professor Alistair Hetherington said: "Understanding how plants made the successful transition from life in water to the successful colonization of the drying terrestrial environment is one of the big questions in contemporary plant biology. Our work shows that the acquisition of stomata that were able to open and close in response to changing environmental conditions, thereby helping plants to avoid drying out, was a very important step in the evolution of the land flora."


'/>"/>

Contact: Hannah Johnson
hannah.johnson@bristol.ac.uk
44-117-928-8896
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Heart valves that grow with the patient
2. NIH awards Clemson bioengineer $1.5 million to improve durability of tissue heart valves
3. Significant role of oceans in onset of ancient global cooling
4. Scientists discover fossil of giant ancient sea predator
5. Battle scars found on an ancient sea monster
6. Cold case: Siberian hot springs reveal ancient ecology
7. Fossil sirenians give scientists new look at ancient climate
8. Reptilian root canal: U of T Mississauga study reveals infection in jaw of ancient fossil
9. New genetic study helps to solve Darwins mystery about the ancient evolution of flowering plants
10. Algae, bacteria hogged oxygen after ancient mass extinction, slowed marine life recovery
11. Ancient trash heaps gave rise to Everglades tree islands
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... 2016 Research and Markets has announced the ... report to their offering. The ... to grow at a CAGR of 12.28% during the period ... an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. The report ... years. The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016  The American College of Medical ... Show Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing trade ... 25-27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas ... highest percentage of growth in each of the following categories: ... companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual Meeting ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016   Acuant ... and verification solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ... solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and ... products that add functional enhancements to existing ... corporations and venues with an automated ID ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... Hill, N.C. (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 ... ... U.S. commercial operations for Amgen, will join the faculty of the University ... serve as adjunct professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at UNC Kenan-Flagler, with a ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... --  Ginkgo Bioworks , a leading organism design ... awarded as one of the World Economic Forum,s ... innovative companies. Ginkgo Bioworks is engineering biology to ... in the nutrition, health and consumer goods sectors. ... including Fortune 500 companies to design microbes for ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid ... to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency ... new test has already been incorporated into numerous ... types. Over 230 clinical trials are ... including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle ... people with peritoneal or pleural mesothelioma. Their findings are the subject of a new ... , Diagnostic biomarkers are signposts in the blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma ...
Breaking Biology Technology: