Where Did Flowers Come From?

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BUFFALO, N.Y. — The University at Buffalo is a key partner in a $7.3 million, multi-institution collaboration to explore the origins of all flowers by sequencing the genome of Amborella, a unique species that one researcher has nicknamed the “platypus of flowering plants.”

Amborella is an understory shrub or small tree found in only one place on the planet: the Pacific islands of New Caledonia. The plant, a direct descendant of the common ancestor of all flowering plants, is the single known living species on the earliest branch of the genetic tree of life of flowering plants.

As such, Amborella is a molecular living fossil, said Victor Albert, UB Empire Innovation Professor in biological sciences and a co-principal investigator on the Amborella genome project.

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