Sea-grass clones older than recorded history

The BBC reports on research into a species of sea grass found in the Mediterranean Sea that may be tens of thousands of years old.

This grass, Posidonia oceanica, reproduces in such a way as to avoid the normal problems with cloning that introduce so-called ‘copy errors’ resulting in mutations which would otherwise limit the survivability of successive generations. By combining both asexual and sexual reproduction Posidonia has been able to grow in colonies up to 15km across on the sea floor for tens of thousands of years.

This research sheds light on how an organism can avoid damaging mutations from one generation to the next while adapting to changing environmental conditions.

BBC’s story here. Original abstract here. Photo via Wikipedia.

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