Genes for long lifespan of banyan, peepal trees identified

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have carried out whole genome sequencing of banyan (Ficus benghalensis) and peepal(Ficus religiosa) from leaf tissue samples.

They also undertook a comprehensive genome-wide phylogenetic analysis with 50 other angiosperm plant species, including four other sequenced Ficus species.

Key findings of the Study:

Identification of signatures of adaptive evolution in genes that are associated with providing longevity in both the species.

Showed multiple signs of adaptation: Genes related to sustained growth and development — plant root development, flowering, reproductive growth, and metabolism.

The adaptive evolution in genes in two cellular mechanisms might explain the well-developed aerial roots that is unique to banyan trees.

Both banyan and peepal trees have select plant disease resistance gene families that have been expanded through gene duplication events in the course of evolution which confers greater longevity.
Also, 88% and 89% of the MSA genes in banyan and peepal trees, respectively, are associated with tolerance against biotic and abiotic stress responses.

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