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May 12

Phenylpropanoid biosynthesis origins in plant algal relatives

Great lab news! Sophie DeVries, our Killam Postdoc and her partner Jan DeVries (Archibald Lab) have just published a very nice research story in Plant & Cell Physiology. The paper is entitled “How Embryophytic is the Biosynthesis of Phenylpropanoids and their Derivatives in Streptophyte Algae?”, and sheds new light on how the earliest land plants acquired the ability to synthesize lignin and other compounds. The study found that streptophyte algae possess the biochemical pathways that lead to the synthesis of lignin precursors, presumably for the production of defense molecules. This “genetic toolkit” was later used to develop the support -woody- materials characteristic of land plants.

This paper was the Editor-in-Chief’s Choice for the month of May 2017, and received a Research HIghlight in the journal’s website (see picture below).

Congratulations Sophie and Jan!