Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nature's gift for gardening may hold key to biodiversity

Date:
September 16, 2010
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
Gardeners are used to cross-breeding flowers to produce pretty petals or sweet scents -- now scientists have shown the importance of nature's talent for producing new types of flowers.

Rhodedendrons and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Credit: iStockphoto

Gardeners are used to cross-breeding flowers to produce pretty petals or sweet scents -- now scientists have shown the importance of nature's talent for producing new types of flowers.

DNA analysis of wild evergreen rhododendrons in the Himalayas has suggested that hundreds of species of the plant could be derived from hybrids -- cross-breeds between different species.

Their findings may help explain the rich biodiversity of the natural world, as it shows how random pairings of wild plants millions of years ago has led to the development of hundreds of new species that exist today.

While scientists have long known that single species can derive from hybrid origins, this latest finding offers rare evidence that whole groups of species can be developed from a hybrid ancestor.

Scientists sampled the DNA of 79 species of rhododendron and used the results to analyse how each species was related.

They found that although most Himalayan rhododendrons were descended from the same ancestral line, three rogue species showed traces of a second, distantly related ancestor. This species, now extinct, may have arrived in the Himalayas within the last 10 million years, and interbred with species already there.

The discovery suggests that much of the diversity found in rhododendrons -- and perhaps many other species -- is a result of ancient cross-breeding, which has enabled a diverse range of offspring over many successive generations.

The joint study with Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, published in the Journal of Plant Systematics and Evolution, was supported by the Natural Environment Research Council.

Dr Richard Milne of the University of Edinburgh's School of Biological Sciences, who led the research, said: "Nature seems to be more creative than the most gifted of gardeners. Cross-breeding in the wild may have played a significant part in contributing to the wealth of species on Earth today -- but more work is needed to investigate the significance of this."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Nature's gift for gardening may hold key to biodiversity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100913111123.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2010, September 16). Nature's gift for gardening may hold key to biodiversity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100913111123.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Nature's gift for gardening may hold key to biodiversity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100913111123.htm (accessed September 17, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

Some Tobacco Farmers Thrive Amid Challenges

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) The South's tobacco country is surviving, and even thriving in some cases, as demand overseas keeps growers in the fields of one of America's oldest cash crops. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

Scientists Given Rare Glimpse of 350-Kilo Colossal Squid

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Scientists say a female colossal squid weighing an estimated 350 kilograms (770 lbs) and thought to be only the second intact specimen ever found was carrying eggs when discovered in the Antarctic. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

Ivorians Abandon Monkey Pets in Fear Over Ebola Virus

AFP (Sep. 16, 2014) Since the arrival of Ebola in Ivory Coast, Ivorians have been abandoning their pets, particularly monkeys, in the fear that they may transmit the virus. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins