University of Cambridge > > Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars > Evolution of C4 grasses: from genes to globe

Evolution of C4 grasses: from genes to globe

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C4 photosynthesis is one of the most important physiological innovations in land plants. This talk will consider its evolutionary history and ecological significance in the grasses, where the C4 pathway has major ecological and economic importance. I will discuss recent advances in two particular areas, beginning with our latest understanding of the ecological selection pressures for C4 photosynthesis, and considering the roles of CO2 , open environments and plant hydraulics. Secondly, I will consider some unexpected new evidence about the molecular evolution of this complex physiological trait, based on work in a grass lineage which may represent a “hotbed” of C4 evolution. Throughout, I will highlight the importance of evolutionary history for understanding C4 plant biology.

This talk is part of the Plant Sciences Departmental Seminars series.

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