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Crop Biotech Update

Selaginella Genome Sequence Maybe Key to Plant Evolutionary Puzzle

May 6, 2011

Sequencing of the lycophyte Selaginella could open new doors to a better understanding of plant evolution over the past 500 million years and research possibilities in the identification of new pharmaceuticals. Jody Banks, a professor of botany and plant pathology at Purdue University led a team of international scientists from 11 countries to sequence the genome

The paper published in Science reports that Selaginella contains 22,300 genes. It does not contain control genes for juvenility and maturiy, and have different control genes in the synthesis of secondary metabolites responsible for scents, seed dispersal functions, and defense, among other tasks.

"These metabolic genes evolved independently in Selaginella and flowering plants, so the metabolites they make are likely to be very different," Banks said. "This means Selaginella could be a huge resource for new pharmaceuticals."

The original story can be viewed at http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2011/110505BanksSelaginella.html.