Algal resiliency to stress may be their key to survival
Land plants, just like terrestrial animals, can trace their ancestors to the oceans. However, all terrestrial plants descended from a single ancestor, a streptophyte algae. The unsolved mystery is what favoured these particular algae in their ultimately successful quest to conquer land. Recently, scientists identified the modern-day streptophyte algal lineage most closely related to the algal land plant ancestor. TerreStriAL, building on researchers’ earlier data that show these algae possess genes for a land plant stress response hormone, is headed for the Holy Grail. Algal model systems will enable scientists to study stress pathways in algae. Plugging these processes into in silico models will help researchers fast-forward the evolutionary process and see if the algae end up as land-based plants.
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