Scientists be-leaf fern could prove key to trapping carbon

Genomes from this plant are responsible for its ability to provide a significant atmospheric carbon dioxide sink and insect resistance, and it could be used more than that purpose in the future, with huge perspective. Image: Shutterstock A fern may be able to provide a significant atmospheric carbon dioxide sink while fixing nitrogen in agriculture and keeping insects away from crops. The Azolla filiculoides fern’s full genome has now been sequenced by scientists at Cornell University and Boyce Thompson Institute (BTI), who say the plant is likely to have played a key role in transitioning Earth from a hot, carbon heavy environment to the cooler, more oxygenated place it is today. They say the fast-growing water fern, which is commonly found fertilising rice paddies in Asia, could be used to trap current-day carbon emissions . The fern’s genome reveals a symbiotic relationship with cyanobacteria, which grows on the plant and helps remove nitrogen from the air and makes it available to plants and other organic life. The plant also has a fern-specific gene shown to provide insect resistance. Fay-Wei Li, Plant Evolutionary Biologist at BTI and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology at Cornell University, said: “With this first genomic data from ferns, science can gain vital intelligence for understanding plant genes. “We can now research its properties as a sustainable fertiliser and perhaps gather carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.”

Newsletter Signup

Get exclusive content, activism awareness, events and more.

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for exclusive content, original stories, activism awareness, events and more.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Support Us.

Happy Eco News will always remain free for anyone who needs it. Help us spread the good news about the environment!