First fern genomes sequenced — and they hold a lot of promise

first_imgArticle published by Shreya Dasgupta Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsored Despite being one of the most diverse groups of plants on the planet, ferns were until recently the only major plant group to not have their genomes sequenced.Now, for the first time ever, biologists have sequenced the genomes of two tiny ferns, Azolla filiculoides and Salvinia cucullata, and their findings have some major implications for agriculture.The fern experts now hope to sequence other fern genomes and unravel more fern secrets. For the first time ever, biologists have sequenced the genomes of two tiny ferns, Azolla filiculoides and Salvinia cucullata, and they’ve revealed some interesting secrets.Despite being one of the most diverse groups of plants on the planet, ferns were the only major plant group to not have their genomes sequenced until now.“This however is not due to lack of interest, but the fact that fern genomes tend to be humongous,” Fay-Wei Li, a plant biologist at the Boyce Thompson Institute and Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, told Mongabay in an email.Ferns can have as many as 720 pairs of chromosomes and genomes as big as 148 billion base pairs of DNA sequences (Gb). By contrast, Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), the first plant to have its genome sequenced, has only five pairs of chromosomes and a genome size of 0.135 Gb. (For comparison, the human genome has around 3 billion base pairs).Li and his team, however, found that both Azolla and its sister genus, Salvinia, have extremely small genomes — A. filiculoides is 0.75 Gb while S. cucullata is 0.26 Gb — making them good candidates for genome sequencing. “We were excited about this result, and an international consortium was assembled to sequence these two ferns,” Li said.Salvinia cucullata, or Asian watermoss. Image by Ziegler175 via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).But there was a problem. Getting funding for the genome project wasn’t easy, and all their letters of intent were declined, Li said. So the researchers tried to get some funding through a crowdfunding site called“We saw our colleagues doing a crowdfunding campaign to support their field expedition, and we thought, hey that’s cool,” Li said. “The first few days of crowdfunding were basically just us (and my mom!) throwing money into the pot. But with lots of social networking (I learned how to tweet for the first time! follow me @fern_way), the news spread…”With support from around the world, Li and his colleagues were not only able to obtain enough funds to sequence both species of fern, but they also connected with other researchers who then became involved in the genome project.Four years later, the researchers have published their results in Nature Plants.Tiny ferns with “super” powersThe ferns that the team selected have some very interesting traits. Azolla, for instance, is believed to have played a major role in cooling down the planet several million years ago, earning it the title of “super-plant.” In what geologists call the “Azolla event,” huge blooms of Azolla covered the Artic Sea some 50 million years ago, removing large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, turning a greenhouse Earth with warm temperatures at the poles into today’s planet with polar ice caps.Azolla is also used as a “green manure” in rice farms in Asia. The fern, sometimes called the mosquito fern or fairy moss, harbors a nitrogen-fixing cyanobacterium called Nostoc azollae within its leaves that captures nitrogen from the atmosphere and converts it into forms that the ferns and rice plants can use. But unlike most other plant-microbe symbiotic partnerships, N. azollae is associated with Azolla throughout its life cycle and transfers from a parent to offspring every time the fern reproduces. In most other plants, each generation has to get its symbiotic microbes from the environment.A macro photograph of Azolla filiculoides. Image by Laura Dijkhuizen.Li and his colleagues identified several genes that are specific to Azolla’s interactions with its symbiont bacteria, whose genomes have been sequenced previously.“Now that we have genomes available for both the fern and cyanobacterium, there is great promise for tapping into the secrets of this natural biofertilizer that may help lead to future sustainable agricultural practices,” Kathleen Pryer, a professor at Duke University, U.S., said in a statement.Ferns are also good at fending off insects. “When you walk into a forest, it’s usually very striking to find that ferns show little to no sign of insect damage,” Li said.But when the researchers tracked down the gene responsible for the insecticidal proteins in S. cucullata, also known as the Asian watermoss, they were surprised to find that the gene had likely come not from its plant ancestors, but from bacteria.“The finding that the fern insecticidal protein coming from bacteria was a big surprise,” Li said. “An important implication [of this] is that genes move around naturally among organisms, and perhaps GMOs” —genetically modified organisms — “are not as ‘unnatural’ as people tend to think. It’s a naturally modified gene, and now that we’ve found it, it could have huge implications for agriculture.”The fern experts now hope to sequence other fern genomes.“We are going fernatic to sequence more ferntastic genomes!” Li said. “Obviously the current two fern genomes do not give us the complete picture of fern genome structure and evolution. We want to eventually address why fern genomes can be so big… Currently we have about 10 fern species in the sequencing pipeline.”Tiny Azolla filiculoides on Fay-Wei Li’s fingernail. Image by Fay-Wei Li.Citation:Li, F. W., Brouwer, P., Carretero-Paulet, L., Cheng, S., de Vries, J., Delaux, P. M., … & Simenc, M. (2018). Fern genomes elucidate land plant evolution and cyanobacterial symbioses. Nature plants, 1. Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Science, Environment, Genetics, Green, Oceans, Plants, Research, Wildlife last_img