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Genome Tree of Life is Largest Yet for Seed Plants

Scientists at the American Museum of Natural History, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, The New York Botanical Garden, and New York University have created the largest genome-based tree of life for seed plants to date. Their findings, published today in the journal PLoS Genetics, plot the evolutionary relationships of 150 different species of plants based on advanced genome-wide analysis of gene structure and function. This new approach, called "functional phylogenomics," allows scientists to reconstruct the pattern of events that led to the vast number of plant species and could help identify genes used to improve seed quality for agriculture.