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Moss has no sex for 50,000 years

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Geplaatst op 02 januari 2012 - 16:17

A moss spreading throughout the Hawaiian Islands appears to be an ancient clone that has copied itself for some 50,000 years, and may be one of the oldest multicellular organisms on Earth, a new study suggests.

The peat moss Sphagnum palustre is found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, but the moss living in Hawaii appears to reproduce only through cloning, without the need for sex or production of spores.

All the moss populations sampled share a rare genetic marker, which suggests they are descended from a single founder plant that was carried via wind to Hawaii tens of thousands of years ago. Since S. palustre is unisexual, having male and female plants, sexual reproduction would not have been possible, said study co-author Eric Karlin, a plant ecologist at Ramapo College in New Jersey.

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Bron: National Geographic

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