Evolution of flowers
Most species of plants on earth have flowers, the evolution of the flowers covered in mystery. Some 140 million years ago, there were no flowers anywhere on Earth. Then, primitive flowers burst onto the scene, and flowering plants took over the world. All living flowers today came from a single ancestor that lived about that time.
The origin and early evolution of flowering plants still remain one of the biggest enigmas in biology. Almost 140 years after Charles Darwin called their rapid rise in the Cretaceous period. The new study, eFLOWER project is an international effort to combine information on the structure of flowers with the evolutionary tree of flowering plants based on DNA.
Study lead author Hervé Sauquet from Paris-Sud University, said, it’s difficult to make a direct comparison with flowers of today. He said, all flowering plants have evolved and changed since that ancestor, that’s how evolution works. The study connects all living species of flowering plants, which was based on genetic data from 792 species.
Among the results the new model of the original ancestral flower that does not match any of the ideas proposed previously. The study said, the ancestral flower was bisexual, with both female (carpels) and male (stamens) parts, and with multiple whorls (concentric cycles) of petal-like organs, in sets of threes.
About 20% of flowers today have such trimerous whorls, but typically fewer like lilies have two, magnolias have three. The researchers also reconstructed what the flowers looked like the key divergences in the flowering plant evolutionary tree, including the early evolution of monocots (lilies) and eudicots (roses). Monocots and eudicots are the two largest groups of flowering plants.
The new study sheds the evolution of flowers and offers a simple scenario to explain the diversity of floral forms. The record of fossil flowering plants still incomplete, and scientists have not found fossil flowers as old as a group itself.
More information: [Nature]