How the First Plant Came to Be

How the First Plant Came to Be

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Earth is the planet of the plants—and it all can be traced back to one green cell. The world’s lush profusion of photosynthesizers—from towering redwoods to ubiquitous diatoms—owe their existence to a tiny alga eons ago that swallowed a cyanobacteria and turned it into an internal solar power plant.

By studying the genetics of a glaucophyte—one of a group of just 13 unique microscopic freshwater blue-green algae, sometimes called “living fossils”—an international consortium of scientists has elucidated the evolutionary history of plants.

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