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Innovative method reveals very old relationships

LUCCI is part of a study where novel methods of analysing fossil leaves have lead to results way beyond expectations.
Ginko biloba, the only now living species off the old Ginko plants. Photo: Vivi Vajda.
Ginkgo biloba, the only now living species off the old Ginkgo plants. Photo: Vivi Vajda.

Instead of analysing DNA as is the usual process, the research team have studied the chemical fingerprints that can be found in the compounds of the waxy membrane covering leaves. While DNA have never been found in fossils older than about 1 million years old, the chemical compounds are preserved in fossils that are hundreds of million years old. From this, the team have found out that the now extinct plants Bennettites and Nilssonia are closely related, but also that other relationships were not as close as believed until now. The group will continue to analyse more plants.

Source: Lund university - read more

Publication: Molecular signatures of fossil leaves provide unexpected new evidence for extinct plant relationships

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LUCCI - Lund University Centre for studies of Carbon Cycle and Climate Interactions

Department of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science

Lund University

Sölvegatan 12

S-223 62 Lund, Sweden