floral Genome Project Education Site  


The Quest for Answers

Researchers are now using molecular genetics in the quest for new clues to the evolutionary history of flowering plants. Botanists (Scientist who study plants) compare DNA sequences to estimate genological relationships among species. Plants with more similar molecular structure are believed to be more closely related. With larger and larger analyses, more and more relationships may be resolved.

Botanists have a much stronger understanding of the major relationships among modern flowering plants today. This knowledge has helped scientists identify functional genes in pest resistance; find new plants with medicinal properties; locate geographic centers of diversity for conservation purposes; and much more.

This web site provides an introduction to today's key floral lineages. Plants listed on the chalkboard are organized according to the timing of branching in an evolutionary tree (View current hypothesis). Exemplars of lineages that branched early in the tree are first, and successive divergences follow in order.

dna vial

Photo: DNA Extraction by Heather Fara, University of Florida

University of FloridaPenn StateCornell UniversitySupported by NSF