Researchers have sequenced for the very first time the genome of the Amborella plant, one of the two oldest lineages of flowering plants.
The discovery could potentially address Charles Darwin’s “abominable mystery” – the question of why flowers proliferated on Earth millions of years ago.
Found only on the main island of New Caledonia in the South Pacific, the Amborella plant, also known as Amborella trichopoda, is a small, shrubby, understory tree with creamy coloured flowers.
It is considered to be the sole survivor of an ancient evolutionary lineage that traces back to the last common ancestor of all flowering plants.
A team of scientists from various universities in the United States claim the genome sequencing of the plant could provide evidence for the evolutionary processes that paved the way for more than 300,000 flowering plant species that are found around the world today.
They also believe it will shed new light on important traits in all flowering plants, including among all major food crop species, a body of knowledge that could prove useful in developing crop-improvement processes.
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