Biotech Updates

Amborella Genome Sequenced, Provides Insight on the Evolution of Food Crops

January 8, 2014

The completion of the sequence of Amborella plant's genome has shed new light on a major event in the history of life on Earth -- the origin of all major food crops and all other flowering plants. The research addresses the question of why flowers suddenly proliferated on Earth millions of years ago.

Amborella (Amborella trichopoda) is unique as the sole survivor of an ancient evolutionary lineage that traces back to the last common ancestor of all flowering plants. This unique heritage gives Amborella a special role in the study of flowering plants. The scientists who sequenced the Amborella genome said it provides conclusive evidence that the ancestor of all flowering plants, including Amborella, evolved following a "genome doubling event" that occurred about 200 million years ago. Some duplicated genes were lost over time but others took on new functions, including contributions to the development of floral organs.

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