It is believed that aquatic plants began to master the land of about 450 million years ago. The international team of scientists managed to show that this happened due to the symbiosis of plants and mushrooms.
Marshantia / © Getty Images
Work is published in the journal Science. The hypothesis that the alliance of plants and mushrooms stood at the origins of ground vegetation, appeared in the study of fossils in the 1980s. The fact is that for adaptation to land, the plants that left the water had to adapt to its complex conditions: the harmful effects of ultraviolet and the absence of nutrients in the soil.
To understand exactly how the adaptation was held, the international team of scientists led by specialists from the National Center for Scientific Research and University of Toulouse (France) had to explore modern plants.
I must say, they are mainly divided into two large categories: vascular – with stems and roots, unsudial – mugh-shaped. Most plants live in close partnership with mushrooms, as a result of which both organism benefit.
Previous studies have shown that there are genes responsible for the proper functioning of such symbiosis. This is especially manifested in vascular plants. In the new work, scientists focused their attention on the representative of the group of moss – Marshantia (Marchantia Paleacea), the genetics of which has not yet been studied.
After analyzing it, the biologists were able to highlight the gene, which also determines the symbiosis of this plant with mushrooms. As scientists find out, it is responsible for the lipid exchange between them, which improves the nutrition of most land plants.
In this regard, the specialists concluded that the overall ancestor of mugh-shaped and vascular plants, colonizing the land of 450 million years ago, was to exchange lipids with mushrooms, like modern plants: it means that this symbiosis has developed for a very long time – just at the time of their access to land.