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Weird and wonderful, plant DNA is challenging preconceptions about the evolution of life, including our own species.
What do cells, genes, mutations, transposons, RNA silencing, and DNA recombination have in common? All were discovered first in plants.
…Today, with the advent of high-throughput sequencing, that legacy of firsts in the plant field is extending to genomics research. In the tens of millions of nucleic acids of familiar and not-so-familiar plant species—from fluffy, domesticated cotton to aquatic, carnivorous bladderwort—plant biologists are uncovering surprising principles about how genomes are organized and how they evolved.
In the last two years, researchers have stumbled upon some “mind-blowing” phenomena in plant genomics, including genomes so strange that “we didn’t think [they] could be like that,” says R. Keith Slotkin, a geneticist at Ohio State University. Examples include the peaceful coexistence of two different genomes in a single nucleus and the willy-nilly way plants swap genes among species. And just as with Hooke’s, Brown’s, and Mendel’s fundamental discoveries in plant biology, the bizarre behavior of plant genomes often applies to animals as well.
…..Imagine borrowing a few genes from a lion to improve your night vision, sneaking a couple from a salmon to breathe underwater, and swiping one or two more from a salamander in case you need to grow back a finger.
Yes, it sounds crazy, because animals don’t normally swap genes. But plants do, even between species as different as humans and salamanders. Plants that intermingle physically can trade DNA—typically mitochondrial DNA—but not always. This gene swapping can happen when a parasitic plant latches onto a host, like a vine wrapping around the trunk of an oak tree, or when two plants grow close together and graft onto each other, says Indiana University’s Jeffrey Palmer, who studies horizontal gene transfer in plants.
…“Plants are a model system for comparative genomics and other processes,” says Palmer. In polyploidy, transposable elements, and rates of mutation, plants lead the way. And there’s plenty more exciting work coming down the pipeline from plants, he adds, but you have to keep your eye out for it. “Furry animals get on the covers of Science and Nature a lot more than plants do,” he says with a laugh.
One way to tell if the geranium DNA repair system is faulty would be to compare it to an especially slow mutator, such as the tulip tree. The tulip tree’s mitochondrial genome—which Palmer sequenced because “it happens to be a tree that I love”—turns out to have one of the slowest mutation rates of any known mitochondrial genome.8 It’s essentially a living fossil, says Palmer, who believes that the tree may have an especially good system for repairing DNA damage, and that studying it could help us learn how to prevent deleterious mutations in our own DNA.
An Inaccurate, Sensationalised and Inappropriate Thread Title
The title of the thread gives a completely false representation of the contents of the article. I hope this was due to ignorance, and not a hoaxer's attempt to discredit the theory of evolution.
The Amazing Lives of Stationary Animals
As many of you know all too well, it can take effort to get up and move. You get up and move to use the bathroom, you get up and move to eat...sometimes you even have to get up and move to reproduce! While most of the animal kingdom shares your pain, there are many in the evolutionary race who have narrowly evaded the hornet's nest that is mobility. These creatures, known to science as "sessile," spend their entire adult lives firmly attached to a single place.
It should come as no surprise that all of our candidates for the most exciting sessile animals happen to dwell in the ocean, where even the most slothful creature can open its mouth and receive a steady stream of food on the water's current. On dry land, such behavior is mirrored only by the females of certain insects, which live attached to plant life under a waxy shell.
There are two general types of plants found in the ocean, those having roots that are attached to the ocean bottom and those not having roots which simply drift about with the water.
...The most abundant plants in the ocean are known as phytoplankton. These are usually single-celled, minute floating plants that drift throughout the surface waters of the ocean.
There's been a lot of major strides lately in genetics, it will be interesting to see how all this information plays out in the future and what implications this will play with our own DNA.
...I feel a little frightened by the people that study the genetic world of plants usually.
As genetically enhanced plants for food, are already experiences us playing god...
These new possibilities create an even higher risk of our godlike influence, spreading new species to places wile being ignorant of the consequences our actions might cause in the future...
Unless they can tell me the are aware and understand of the effects on the long term .
Good grief. Please, please, PLEASE read - the OP, the source article and my own past threads. There is nothing anywhere there that "attempts to discredit the theory of evolution." I am totally into understanding evolution, and especially epigenetics as an evolutionary mechanism. But yes, I DID shorten the title. Here is is, in full: Genomes Gone Wild: Weird and wonderful, plant DNA is challenging preconceptions about the evolution of life, including our own species. Feel free to read the material and post any relevant comment(s) that might pop into your little head.