"Genome doubling may, therefore, offer an explanation to Darwin's "abominable mystery" -- the apparently abrupt proliferation of new species of flowering plants in fossil records dating to the Cretaceous period," said Claude dePamphilis of Penn State University. "Generations of scientists have worked to solve this puzzle," he added.
Comparative analyses of the Amborella genome are already providing scientists with a new perspective on the genetic origins of important traits in all flowering plants -- including all major food crop species. "Because of Amborella's pivotal phylogenetic position, it is an evolutionary reference genome that allows us to better understand genome changes in those flowering plants that evolved later, including genome evolution of our many crop plants -- hence, it will be essential for crop improvement," stressed Doug Soltis of the University of Florida.
As another example of the value of the Amborella genome, Joshua Der at Penn State noted "We estimate that at least 14,000 protein-coding genes existed in the last common ancestor of all flowering plants. Many of these genes are unique to flowering plants, and many are known to be important for producing the flower as well as other structures and other processes specific to flowering plants."
"This work provides the first global insight as to how flowering plants are genetically different from all other plants on Earth," Brad Barbazuk of the University of Florida said, "and it provides new clues as to how seed plants are genetically different from non-seed plants."
Jim Leebens-Mack from UGA noted that "The Amborella genome sequence facilitated reconstruction of the ancestral gene order in t
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