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Flowers evolved from male gymnosperm 'cones' with the first being lilies and avacados [View All]

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Elmore Furth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-14-10 04:42 PM
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Flowers evolved from male gymnosperm 'cones' with the first being lilies and avacados
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The discovery of 'missing links' in evolutions has become easier by genetic testing.

The origin of flowers was unclear until the similarities in RNA between primative flowering plants and cone bearing gymnosperms was elucidated.




ScienceDaily (Dec. 14, 2010) From southern Africa's pineapple lily to Western Australia's swamp bottlebrush, flowering plants are everywhere. Also called angiosperms, they make up 90 percent of all land-based, plant life.

New research published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences provides new insights into their genetic origin, an evolutionary innovation that quickly gave rise to many diverse flowering plants more than 130 million years ago. Moreover, a flower with genetic programming similar to a water lily may have started it all.

"Water lilies and avocado flowers are essentially 'genetic fossils' still carrying genetic instructions that would have allowed the transformation of gymnosperm cones into flowers," said biologist Doug Soltis, co-lead researcher at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Gymnosperms are a group of seed-bearing plants that include conifers and cycads that produce "cones" as reproductive structures, one example being the well-known pine cone. "We show how the first flowering plants evolved from pre-existing genetic programs found in gymnosperm cones and then developed into the diversity of flowering plants we see today," he said. "A genetic program in the gymnosperm cone was modified to make the first flower."

What 'Pine' Cones Reveal About the Evolution of Flowers
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