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Small but speedy: Short plants live in the evolutionary fast lane
Date:5/21/2013

body can't be inherited they're evolutionary dead ends. But this isn't the case for plants, where genetic changes in any part of the plant could potentially get passed on if those cells eventually form flowers or other reproductive organs

"Genetic changes that occur during cell division in plant shoots could potentially get passed on to future generations," Lanfear explained.

Importantly, growth slows as plants increase in size, he added. This means that over the long term, the rate of cell division and genome copying in taller plants eventually slows down, and changes in DNA the raw material for evolution accumulates less quickly.

"Our study also answers a question that was posed [in a paper] in Nature in 1986:" the researchers write. "Do plants evolve differently? The answer is 'yes.'"


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Contact: Robert Lanfear
rob.lanfear@anu.edu.au
National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)
Source:Eurekalert

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