Genetics of the Tree of Life – Understanding the African Baobab Tree

African Baobab Tree's Root Tip Chromosome Spread

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The African baobab tree has 168 chromosomes in overall. USDA scientists utilized fluorescent probes to see the hereditary parts of private chromosomes within the cells. Credit: Islam-Faradi, Sakhanokho & Nelson

USDA Forest Service researchers advance hereditary understanding of African baobab tree.

The African baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) is called the tree of life. Baobab trees can live for more than a thousand years and offer food, animals fodder, medical substances, and basic materials. Baobab trees are exceptionally substantial. However, there are growing preservation issues and previously, an absence of hereditary details.

The African baobab tree has 168 chromosomes — vital understanding for more hereditary research studies, preservation, and enhancement for farming functions. The findings were released in the journal Scientific Reports. Previous research studies approximated that the tree has in between 96 and 166 chromosomes.

“We were able to unequivocally count the chromosomes,” states Nurul Faridi, a USDA Forest Service research study geneticist who co-led the research study with Hamidou Sakhanokho, a USDA Agricultural Research Service research study geneticist.

The scientists utilized fluorescent probes to see the hereditary parts of private chromosomes within the cells — which radiance like gems.

Forest Baobabs

Adansonia is a genus of deciduous trees called baobabs that are discovered in deserts of Madagascar, mainland Africa, Arabia, and Australia.

The analysis likewise exposed that the tree has a huge nucleolus organizer area (NOR). Relative to the primary chromosome body, this area appears bigger than that of any other plant types. During particular phases of the cell cycle, nucleoli kind at the NORs. The nucleoli are necessary for ribosome assembly and protein synthesis in eukaryotes and are a crucial function that distinguishes eukaryotes from prokaryotes.

“These genetic findings are foundational and will make genetic conservation of the African baobab tree more efficient and effective,” states Dana Nelson, a coauthor and task leader of the Southern Research Station’s hereditary system. “This research is also a precursor for tree breeding programs seeking to improve baobab for silvicultural applications.”

Reference: ‘New chromosome number and cyto-molecular characterization of the African Baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) – “The Tree of Life”’ by Nurul Islam-Faridi, Hamidou F. Sakhanokho and C. Dana Nelson, 6 August 2020, Scientific Reports.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-68697-6