Innovations in Biotechnology and Medical Sciences

Why banyan, peepal trees live longer?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Multiple Signs of Adaptive-evolution (MSA)

Mains level: NA


Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have found out the carried out whole genome sequencing of banyan and peepal from leaf tissue samples.

Science behind long life: Multiple Signs of Adaptive-evolution (MSA)

  • Scientists identified 25,016 coding gene sequences in banyan and 23,929 in peepal.
  • Both trees faced a population bottleneck around 0.8 million years ago and evolved genes with multiple signs of adaptive evolution (MSA).
  • In banyan, the MSA genes are mainly involved in root growth, pollen tube and seed development, leaf formation, cell wall synthesis, metabolism and other developmental processes.

How MSA prolongs the life?

  • Disease resistance and other stress tolerance gene families showed expansion as well as high expression, contributing to the plants’ long lifespan.
  • The MSA genes of peepal are associated with root cell elongation, cell proliferation, seed and pollen tube growth, lateral organ development, controlling flowering time, metabolism and intracellular transport.
  • The team zeroed in on 17 MSA genes in banyan and 19 MSA genes in peepal that are mainly related to well-developed morphology, and tolerance against drought, oxidative stress and pathogens.
  • Genes involved in growth-regulating auxin signalling and plant senescence-regulating pathways also showed evolutionary signatures.
  • Also, 88% and 89% of the MSA genes in banyan and peepal trees, respectively, are associated with tolerance against biotic and abiotic stress responses.
  • This, in turn, helps these plants to survive when faced with environmental challenges.


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