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Laboratory Report

Articles: Laboratory Report

Living Fossils Lose Status

Studies done at Harvard and UC Berkeley, by a scientist now at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, have shown that our present-day cycads evolved fifty million years after the dinosaurs were gone. That makes the earliest of our cycad species only about twelve million years old—not living remnants of the ancient plants of the Jurassic period as once thought. Two-thirds of the 300 known species from around the world were examined using a technique known as the molecular clock. The accumulation of DNA mutations coding for certain proteins within a group of plants reveal how much time has passed since the time of a common ancestor. It has been suggested that there must have been an environmental trigger twelve million years ago that caused all the present groups of cycads to be synchronous in their speciation away from an original ancient lineage.

            Science Express, October 20, 2011

 

Seed Longevity

Seeds of some plants can remain viable for hundreds of years under proper storage conditions; others last only a couple of decades. Researchers at the Millennium Seed Bank at Kew Gardens, along with their international research partn...

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