Science & Tech
New study shows “horizontal gene transfer” allowed early plant life to adapt to harsher conditions on land—and reveals new species of algae in the process.
Natural genetic engineering allowed plants to move from water to land, according to a new study by an international group of scientists from Canada, China, France, Germany and Russia.
“This is one of the most important events in the evolution of life on this planet—without which we as a species would not exist,” said University of Alberta genomicist and study co-investigator Gane Ka-Shu Wong.
“The movement of life from water to land—called terrestrialization—began with plants and was followed by animals and then, of course, humans. This study establishes how that first step took place.”RELATED: New research traces family tree of green plants over a billion years of evolution
The movement of plants from water to land was made possible when genes from soil bacteria were transferred to algae through a process called hori...