Biologists Find Progenitors of Earth's Flowering Plants

John E. Rylander (
Fri, 29 Oct 1999 05:00:13 -0500


October 29, 1999

Biologists Find Progenitors of Earth's Flowering Plants

After more than a hundred years of arguing, theorizing and frustration,
evolutionary biologists have at last answered a question so difficult that
Darwin himself called it the "abominable mystery": how did the world's
flowering plants, the most diverse and important group of plants on earth,
first evolve?

In a highly unusual confluence of discoveries, four teams of researchers
studying plant DNA have independently and simultaneously come up with the
same answer to this highly contentious question, deciphering the earliest
history of flowering plants and identifying the three most ancient groups in
its family tree. The first of the results to be published appears in
Friday's issue of the journal Science.