Expression analyses in Ginkgo biloba provide new insights into the evolution and development of the seed (Sci. Reports)

Seed production was a decisive adaptation that appeared during plant evolution. Not in vain! The most diverse plant lineage today is that of the so-called seed plants, a group that includes gymnosperms and angiosperms. Therefore, it is not surprising that understanding seed origin and evolution has been of paramount interest within the plant science community for a long time. However, most of the available information about the molecular mechanisms behind seed development is limited to angiosperms. In this fascinating research, Zumajo-Cardona and colleagues conducted a thorough expression analysis during the seed development of Gingko biloba –a “living-fossil” gymnosperm present in one of the first lineages where seeds evolved. A spatiotemporal analysis of six genes known for their functions in angiosperm seed development revealed that expression patterns are not fully conserved between angiosperms and gymnosperms. Notably, several genes restricted to ovules integuments in angiosperms were expressed in developing sporangia in Ginkgo and non-seed plant lineages, implying that the integument developmental network might have been co-opted from the ones controlling sporangia development. (Summary by Carlos A. Ordóñez-Parra @caordonezparra) Sci. Rep. 10.1038/s41598-021-01483-0.