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THE BIOCENTER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF WÜRZBURG

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Icefish under water

Icefish live in an environment that should be deadly for them. Scientists have now investigated how they still manage to exist there and what evolutionary adaptations they have had to undergo in order to do so.

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Two open stomatal pores on the surface of a fern leaf, each surrounded by two kidney-shaped guard cells. Right panel: important moments during the evolution of stomata. Stomata probably evolved in an early land plant, from which all today’s species descend, but were likely lost in liverworts. Some genes that control stomatal movement in flowering plants likely arose recently, in seed plants, from within ancient gene families that were present in algae. Signalling genes with specific roles in guard cells likely arose after mosses diverged from a common ancestor.

Plants that can manage with less water could make agriculture more sustainable. This is why a research team at the University of Würzburg is investigating how plants control their water balance.

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