Plants and evolution

18 Sep 2010

Research done at the University of Calgary (see ) has come up with some new ideas on the diversity of flowering plants - and what factors might affect the number of species in a particular lineage. It is not only what causes diversity but what has happened because of extinctions and die-offs - leaving openings. Geography is one factor and traits within a family of species is another which might encourage greater diversity - but why?

Meanwhile, another paper at Environmental Science and Technology (see ) explores why plants growing near Chernobyl adapted and flourished in spite of the high radiation levels in the soil - including crop plants such as soy beans and flax. Basically, they were able to just ignore the radiation - which may imply plants have already adapted to high radiation levels in the past.