Molecular evidence for the early colonization of land by fungi and plants

D. S. Heckman, D. M. Geiser, B. R. Eidell, R. L. Stauffer, N. L. Kardos, S. B. Hedges

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Abstract

The colonization of land by eukaryotes probably was facilitated by a partnership (symbiosis) between a photosynthesizing organism (phototroph) and a fungus. However, the time when colonization occurred remains speculative. The first fossil land plants and fungi appeared 480 to 460 million years ago (Ma), whereas molecular crock estimates suggest an earlier colonization of land, about 600 Ma. Our protein sequence analyses indicate that green algae and major lineages of fungi were present 1000 Ma and that land plants appeared by 700 Ma, possibly affecting Earth's atmosphere, climate, and evolution of animals in the Precambrian.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1129-1133
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume293
Issue number5532
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 10 2001

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Cite this

Heckman, D. S., Geiser, D. M., Eidell, B. R., Stauffer, R. L., Kardos, N. L., & Hedges, S. B. (2001). Molecular evidence for the early colonization of land by fungi and plants. Science, 293(5532), 1129-1133. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1061457