I heard it through the genome


The paper:

O. Jaillon et al., "The grapevine genome sequence suggests ancestral hexaploidization in major angiosperm phyla," Nature, 449:463–68, 2007. (Cited in 133 papers)

The finding:

A team of researchers in France and Italy sequenced the genome of the common grapevine, Vitis vinifera, and found evidence of a whole genome tripling event prior to the divergence of monocots and dicots, the two main classes of flowering plants. The sequence "gave us insights into what early dicots looked like," says Andrew Paterson, of the University of Georgia.

The impact:

Polyploidization has been linked with increased vigor and enhanced adaptation to different conditions. Thus, genome tripling could be "responsible for the great success of flowering plants on earth," says lead author Patrick Wincker of Genoscope, the French National Sequencing Center, in an email.

The follow-up:

Last year, Paterson used the grapevine genome to...

The step back:

Pamela Soltis, a University of Florida evolutionary biologist, sequenced genes in the primitive shrub Amborella and found that it may not have undergone genome duplication, unlike virtually all other flowering plants. This suggests that Amborella may be even more ancestral than the grapevine, she says.

Comparison of sequenced dicot genomes
Genome size No. of chromosomes No. of genes
Grapevine 487 19 30,434
Poplar 485 19 45,555
Papaya 372 9 24,746
Arabidopsis 125 5 31,114

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