Plants are ten times better than animals at building new genes during periods of evolution
Plants can develop more and a wider variety of genes than animals during peaks of evolution, according to a new study.
Researchers from the universities of Bristol and Essex concluded plants have a high genetic production rate after studying the DNA of more than 200 different species.
They traced the origin of land plants to 'two explosions of new genes' from about 470 million years ago when they first laid down roots out of the water.
The team says their findings challenge previous understanding that the evolution of plants was a gradual process rather than an 'explosion of new genes'.
They found this increase in new genetic material was up to ten times higher than those seen in animal species throughout history.
The team of scientists used computer modelling to 'go back in time' and track the growth rate, change and progress of these ancient plants.
They compared the datasets of 208 genomes - the full record of DNA inside the plants - covering all major plant species.
'We discovered that the origin of land plants is associated with two explosions of new genes, an unprecedented level of genomic novelty', said lead author Jordi Paps.
'Our findings challenge previous views of this transition being more gradual at genetic level.'
The research team said the first of the two explosions predates the origin of land plants, before they left their aquatic environments.
The second major period of genetic change they studied came as a coincidence of the plants arriving on land for the first time.
New genes that ...
More on: www.dailymail.co.uk