a 234-year-old walnut tree on the University of Lausanne campus in Swiss has relatively few mutations. WIKIMEDIA, ABADDON1337 Sequencing DNA collected from simply leaves on different branches of a 234-year-old oak tree around the University of Lausanne campus in Switzerland, plant biologist Philippe Reymond and colleagues found far fewer one base-pair substitutions than expected based on known plant variations rates and the number of cell divisions that presumed to get occurred between an old branch near the tree’ s bottom and a younger branch 40 meters higher up. The particular team, which did not analyze other types of genetic variations such as deletions, published its results last week (June 13) on the preprint server bioRxiv.

“ It’ s a tantalizing study, ” Daniel Schoen, the plant evolutionary biologist at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, tells Nature . “ This touches on something that was simmering always, in the back of the particular minds of plant biologists. ”

Particularly, the findings support the idea that plants somehow protect their own stem cells from accumulating mutations. Last year, for example , researchers from the University of Bern found evidence in  Arabidopsis thaliana   and tomato that plant life limit the number of cell divisions in the meristem tissues that will house the stem cells that support plant development. “ Plants seem to set aside some cells in such a way about minimize the number of mutations they accumulate, ” Rob Lanfear  of Macquarie University in Australia wrote in an email to  The Scientist following the study’ ersus publication.

See “ Mechanism Behind Intense Longevity in Some Plants”