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Plant hormone evolution

Plant hormone evolution is the focus of a new study.

Plants are rather assertive organisms. Back in Earth’s deep, dark history, plants found homes in mosses and needed moisture to thrive. When confronted with dry periods, they became resourceful and figured out ways to survive.

Ferns developed an impermeable waxy covering. Pores in the leaves followed, allowing the plants to exchange carbon dioxide and oxygen with the environment. When dry conditions strike, ferns close these pores to prevent precious water stores from being lost through evaporation.

This assumption is backed by new findings published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Together with an international research team from Würzburg (Germany), Hobart (Australia) and Purdue (USA), Professor Rainer Hedrich from the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (JMU) in Bavaria examined the pore regulation of land plants at an early evolutionary stage.

His experiments focused on abscisic acid (ABA), a plant hormone that regulates water balance and pore function in higher flowering plants. ABA is also essential for triggering dormancy.

The research found differing results for ferns and flowering plants, aiming to conduct further tests to understand their hypotheses.

Read the full study here.

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