News From the Field
Study Rewrites the Evolutionary History of C4 Grasses
November 16, 2010
According to a popular hypothesis, grasses such as maize, sugar cane, millet and sorghum got their evolutionary start as a result of a steep drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels during the Oligocene epoch, more than 23 million years ago. A new study overturns that hypothesis, presenting the first geological evidence that the ancestors of these and other C4 grasses emerged millions of years earlier than previously established.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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