10.8: Evolution of Seed Plants (2023)

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    The first plants to colonize the earth were probably closely related to today's mosses (bryophytes) and are believed to have appeared approximately 500 million years ago. Then came the liverworts (also bryophytes) and the primitive vascular plants, the pterophytes, from which modern ferns are derived. The life cycle of bryophytes and pterophytes is characterized by the alternation of generations, like gymnosperms and angiosperms; what distinguishes bryophytes and pterophytes from gymnosperms and angiosperms is their reproductive need for water. The completion of the life cycle of bryophytes and pterophytes requires water, as the male gametophyte releases sperm, which must swim, propelled by their flagella, to reach and fertilize the female gamete or ovum. After fertilization, the zygote matures into a sporophyte, which in turn will form sporangia, or "spores." In the sporangium, stem cells undergo meiosis and produce haploid spores. The release of spores in the appropriate environment will lead to germination and a new generation of gametophytes.

    In seeds, the evolutionary trend led to a dominant generation of sporophytes and, at the same time, to a systematic reduction in the size of the gametophyte: from a remarkable structure to a microscopic group of cells enclosed in sporophyte tissues. While lower vascular plants, such as mosses and ferns, are mostly homosporous (producing only one type of spore), all seed orspermatophytesThey are heterosporous. They form two types of spores: megaspores (female) and microspores (male). Megaspores develop into egg-producing female gametophytes and microspores mature into sperm-producing male gametophytes. Because the gametophytes mature within the spores, they are not free-living, as are the gametophytes of other seedless vascular plants. Heterosporous seedless plants are considered the evolutionary precursors of seed plants.

    Seeds and pollen, two key adaptations to drought and reproduction that do not require water, distinguish seed plants from other vascular (seedless) plants. Both adaptations were necessary for the colonization of the soil initiated by bryophytes and their ancestors. Fossils place the first plants with distinct seeds around 350 million years ago. The first reliable record of gymnosperms dates their appearance to the Pennsylvania period, about 319 million years ago (Table 1). preceded gymnospermsprogymnosperm, the earliest gymnosperms, originated approximately 380 million years ago. Progymnosperms were a transitional group of plants that superficially resembled conifers (cones) in that they produced wood from secondary growth of vascular tissue; however, they continued to reproduce like ferns, releasing spores into the environment. Gymnosperms dominated the landscape in the early (Triassic) and middle (Jurassic) Mesozoic. Angiosperms surpassed gymnosperms in the mid-Cretaceous (about 100 million years ago) by the late Mesozoic, and today they are the most abundant plant group in most terrestrial biomes.

    Table 1. Geological time scale[1]
    Eon Age Period Home, MYA
    Fanerozoico Cenozoic complaints 1.6
    neogen 23
    paleogene 66
    Mesozoic Krićanski 145
    Jura 201
    three 252
    paleozoic permanente 298
    Carboniferous 360
    devoniano 419
    torpedo 444
    Ordovician 485
    Cambrian 540
    proterozoico late proterozoic
    middle proterozoic
    early proterozoic
    Archaic late archaic
    middle archaic
    early archaic
    pre-archaic ~4600

    Pollen and seeds were innovative structures that enabled seed plants to break their dependence on water for reproduction and embryonic development, and to conquer land. Hepollen grainsThey are male gametophytes, which contain the sperm (gametes) of the plant. small haploid (1norte) cells are surrounded by a protective cover that prevents desiccation and mechanical damage. Pollen grains can travel far from their original sporophyte, spreading the plant's genes. Heseedit offers embryonic protection, nutrition, and a mechanism to maintain dormancy for tens or even thousands of years, ensuring germination when growth conditions are optimal. Therefore, seeds allow plants to propagate to the next generation in both space and time. With such evolutionary advantages, seeds have become the most successful and well-known group of plants, partly due to their size and striking appearance.

    Evolution of gymnosperms

    10.8: Evolution of Seed Plants (1)

    fossil plantElkinsian polymorphic, a "seed fern" from the Devonian period, about 400 million years ago, is considered the oldest known seed plant. Fern seeds (Figure 1) produced their seeds along their branches without any special structure. What makes them the first true seed plants is that they evolved structures called domes to surround and protect them.ovum—the female gametophyte and associated tissues—that develop into the seed after fertilization. Seeds resembling modern tree ferns became more numerous and diverse in Carboniferous period coal bogs.

    (Video) Plant Evolution

    The fossil record shows that the first gymnosperms (progymnosperms) probably originated in the Paleozoic, during the middle Devonian period: about 390 million years ago. After the wet periods of the Mississippi and Pennsylvania, dominated by huge tree ferns, the Permian period was dry. This gave a reproductive advantage to seed plants, which are better adapted to survive dry periods.

    10.8: Evolution of Seed Plants (2)

    Ginkgoales, a group of gymnosperms with only one surviving species -ginkgo biloba -they were the first gymnosperms to appear during the Lower Jurassic. Gymnosperms spread in the Mesozoic era (about 240 million years ago), displacing ferns from the landscape and reaching their greatest diversity at that time. The Jurassic period was both the age of the cycads (palm-like gymnosperms) and the age of the dinosaurs. Gingkoals and the more familiar conifers also dotted the landscape. Although angiosperms (flowering plants) are the main form of plant life in most biomes, gymnosperms still dominate some ecosystems, such as the taiga (boreal forest) and alpine forests in the highest mountains (Figure 2) due to to its adaptation to cold and dry growing conditions. .

    Seeds and pollen as an evolutionary adaptation to dry soil

    10.8: Evolution of Seed Plants (3)

    Unlike bryophytes and fern spores (which are haploid cells that depend on moisture for rapid gametophyte development), the seeds contain a diploid embryo that will germinate into a sporophyte. Storage tissue that supports growth and a protective coat give seeds their superior evolutionary advantage. Several layers of hardened tissue prevent desiccation and free reproduction by the need for a constant supply of water. Furthermore, the seed remains dormant, induced by desiccation and abscisic acid hormone, until conditions for growth become favourable. Whether blown by the wind, floating on water, or carried by animals, the seeds are dispersed over an ever-increasing geographic range, thus avoiding competition with the parent plant.

    Pollen grains (Figure 3) are male gametophytes and are transmitted by wind, water, or pollinators. The entire structure is protected against drying out and can reach the female organs without relying on water. The male gametes reach the female gametophyte and the gamete ovule through the pollen tube: an extension of the cell within the pollen grain. The sperm of modern gymnosperms do not have flagella, but cycads do.Ginkgo, sperm cells still possess flagella that allow them to swim downstreampollen tubeto the female gamete; however, they are enclosed in the pollen grain.

    evolution of angiosperms

    The indisputable fossil record places the mass appearance and diversification of angiosperms in the middle or late Mesozoic era. Angiosperms ("seeds in a receptacle") produce a flower that contains male and/or female reproductive structures. Fossil evidence (Figure 4) shows that flowering plants first appeared in the Early Cretaceous, about 125 million years ago, and that they spread rapidly in the Middle Cretaceous, about 100 million years ago. Previous traces of angiosperms are rare. Fossilized pollen collected from Jurassic geological material is attributed to angiosperms. Some early Cretaceous rocks show clear leaf tracks resembling those of angiosperms. By the mid-Cretaceous, a staggering number of diverse flowering plants fill the fossil record. The same geological period was also marked by the emergence of many modern groups of insects, including pollinating insects that played a key role in the ecology and evolution of flowering plants.

    10.8: Evolution of Seed Plants (4)

    Although various hypotheses have been offered to explain this sudden abundance and diversity of flowering plants, none have gained the consensus of paleobotanists (scientists who study ancient plants). However, new data in comparative genomics and paleobotany have shed some light on the evolution of angiosperms. Rather than descending from gymnosperms, angiosperms form a sister class (a species and its descendants) that evolved in parallel with gymnosperms. Two innovative flower and fruit structures represent an improved reproductive strategy that served to protect the embryo while increasing variety and genetic variability. Paleobotanists debate whether angiosperms evolved from small woody shrubs or whether basal angiosperms are related to tropical grasses. Both views are based on cladistic studies, and the so-called woody magnolid hypothesis, which proposes that the earliest ancestors of angiosperms were shrubs, also offers molecular biological evidence.

    It is considered the most primitive living angiosperm.Amborella trichopoda, a small plant native to the rainforest of New Caledonia, an island in the South Pacific. genome analysisA. tricopodashowed that it is related to all extant flowering plants and that it belongs to the oldest confirmed branch of the angiosperm family tree. Several other groups of angiosperms, called basal angiosperms, are considered primitive because they branched early in the phylogenetic tree. Most modern angiosperms are classified as either monocots or eudicots, based on the structure of the leaves and embryos. Basal angiosperms, such as water lilies, are considered more primitive because they share morphological traits with monocots and eudicots.

    Flowers and fruits as evolutionary adaptation

    Angiosperms produce their gametes in separate organs, which are usually found in aflor. Both fertilization and embryo development take place within an anatomical structure that ensures a stable system of sexual reproduction largely protected from environmental fluctuations. Flowering plants are the most diverse type on Earth after insects; flowers come in an astonishing variety of sizes, shapes, colors, scents, and arrangements. Most flowers have a mutual pollinator, and the characteristic features of the flowers reflect the nature of the pollinating agent. The relationship between the characteristics of the pollinator and the flower is one of the great examples of coevolution.

    After the ovule is fertilized, the ovule develops into a seed. The surrounding tissue of the ovary thickens, becomes afruitwhich will protect the seed and often ensure its spread over a wide geographical range. Not all fruits develop from the ovary; such structures are "false fruits". Like flowers, fruits can vary greatly in appearance, size, smell, and taste. Tomatoes, walnut shells, and avocados are examples of fruits. Like pollen and seeds, fruits also act as dispersal agents. Some can be blown by the wind. Many attract animals that will eat the fruit and pass the seeds through their digestive system and then deposit the seeds elsewhere. Cockleburs are covered in stiff, hooked spines that can snag skin (or clothing) and snag an animal for long distances. The cockle attached to the velvet trousers of the enterprising Swiss mountaineer, George de Mestral, inspired his invention of the Velcro fastener which he called Velcro.

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    All living organisms exhibit patterns of relationships that arise from their evolutionary history. Phylogeny is the science that describes the relative relationships between organisms, in terms of ancestral and descendant species. Phylogenetic trees, like the evolutionary history of plants shown in Figure 5, are tree-shaped branching diagrams that show these relationships. The species are found at the top of the branches. Each branch point, called a node, is the point at which a taxonomic group (taxon), such as a species, splits into two or more species.

    10.8: Evolution of Seed Plants (5)

    Phylogenetic trees have been constructed to describe relationships between species since Darwin's time. Traditional methods involve the comparison of homologous anatomical structures and embryonic development, assuming that closely related organisms share anatomical features during embryonic development. Some traits that disappear in the adult are present in the embryo; for example, a human fetus, at one point, has a tail. A study of the fossil record shows intermediate stages linking an ancestral form to its descendants. Most of these approaches are imprecise and subject to multiple interpretations. As the tools of molecular biology and computational analysis have developed and improved in recent years, a new generation of tree construction methods has taken shape. A key assumption is that genes for essential proteins or RNA structures, such as ribosomal RNA, are inherently conserved because mutations (changes in the DNA sequence) could threaten the survival of the organism. DNA from small numbers of living or fossil organisms can be amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequenced, targeting regions of the genome that are most likely to be conserved between species. Genes encoding 18S small subunit ribosomal RNA and plastid genes are often chosen for DNA alignment analysis.

    Once the sequences of interest are obtained, they are compared with existing sequences in databases such as GenBank, maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Numerous computer tools are available for sequence alignment and analysis. Sophisticated analysis computer programs determine the percent sequence identity or homology. Sequence homology can be used to estimate the evolutionary distance between two DNA sequences and reflect the time since genes diverged from a common ancestor. Molecular analysis revolutionized phylogenetic trees. In some cases, previous results from morphological studies were confirmed: for example, confirmingAmborella trichopodaas the most primitive known angiosperm. However, some groups and relationships have been rearranged as a result of DNA analysis.

    Learning objectives

    The seeds appeared about a million years ago, in the Carboniferous period. Two important innovations, seeds and pollen, allowed seed plants to reproduce in the absence of water. Seed plant gametophytes became smaller while sporophytes became prominent structures and the diploid stage became the longest stage of the life cycle. Gymnosperms became the dominant group during the Triassic. They protect pollen grains and seeds from drying out. A seed, unlike a spore, is a diploid embryo surrounded by storage tissue and protective coats. It is equipped to delay germination until growing conditions are optimal. Angiosperms bear flowers and fruits. The structures protect the gametes and the embryo during their development. Angiosperms appeared during the Mesozoic and became the dominant plant life in terrestrial habitats.

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    1. "Geologic Time Scale",Wikipedia.https://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Geologic_time_scale. ↵
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    What is the evolution of seed plants? ›

    In seed plants, the evolutionary trend led to a dominant sporophyte generation, and at the same time, a systematic reduction in the size of the gametophyte: from a conspicuous structure to a microscopic cluster of cells enclosed in the tissues of the sporophyte.

    What are the steps of seed evolution? ›

    The review will be divided into sections dealing with: (1) the development and anatomy of seeds; (2) the endosperm; (3) dormancy; (4) early seed-like structures and the transition to seeds; and (5) the evolution of seed size (mass).

    When did seed plants first evolve? ›

    Gymnosperms were the first seed plants to have evolved. The earliest seedlike bodies are found in rocks of the Upper Devonian Series (about 382.7 million to 358.9 million years ago).

    What are the evolutionary adaptations of seed plants? ›

    A seed contains an embryo and a food supply enclosed within a tough coating. Other reproductive adaptations that evolved in seed plants include ovules, pollen, pollen tubes, and pollination by animals.

    What did the evolution of seeds do? ›

    The evolution of seeds allowed plants to decrease their dependency upon water for reproduction. Seeds contain an embryo that can remain dormant until conditions are favorable when it grows into a diploid sporophyte.

    What are the 5 stages of seed growth? ›

    The process of seed germination includes the following five changes or steps: imbibition, respiration, effect of light on seed germination, mobilization of reserves during seed germination, and role of growth regulators and development of the embryo axis into a seedling.

    What were the first seed plants? ›

    The oldest known seed plant is Elkinsia polymorpha, a "seed fern" from Late Devonian (Famennian) of West Virginia. Though the fossils consist only of small seed-bearing shoots, these fragments are quite well-preserved. This has allowed us to learn details about the evolutionary development of the seed.

    What are the 4 processes that happen during seed germination? ›

    Seed germination is vital stage in plant development and can be considered as a determinant for plant productivity. It begins by water imbibition, mobilization of food reserve, protein synthesis and consequence radicle protrusion [1].

    Why did the seed evolve? ›

    Seeds have evolved because they are better at helping plants to survive than spores are. For example, seeds contain a food source to help the new plant grow.

    What are some examples of evolution in plants? ›

    What are some examples of evolution in the plant world? Vascular tissues, seeds, flowers, and stomata are major examples of evolution in the plant world.

    What is the origin and evolution of plants? ›

    Botanists now believe that plants evolved from the algae; the development of the plant kingdom may have resulted from evolutionary changes that occurred when photosynthetic multicellular organisms invaded the continents.

    What are 3 adaptations of seed plants? ›

    A: Adaptations include 1)a reproductive process that takes place in cones or flowers, 2)the transfer of sperm by pollination, and 3)the protection of embryos in seeds.

    What is the origin of plant seed? ›

    Seeds are the product of the ripened ovule, after the embryo sac is fertilized by sperm from pollen, forming a zygote. The embryo within a seed develops from the zygote, forming a seed coat around the ovule, and grows within the mother plant to a certain size before growth is halted.

    What are 3 evolved adaptations of plants? ›

    Plants have evolved several adaptations to life on land, including embryo retention, a cuticle, stomata, and vascular tissue.

    What are the adaptations of seeds? ›

    Some seeds have hooks on them that allow them to attach to animal fur or clothes. Some seeds are able to float in water. Some seeds are light and have wings or thin hairs that allow them to be carried away by wind.

    Why are seeds an evolutionary advantage for plants? ›

    Seeds offer the embryo protection, nourishment, and a mechanism to maintain dormancy for tens or even thousands of years, ensuring that germination can occur when growth conditions are optimal. Seeds therefore allow plants to disperse the next generation through both space and time.

    Why are seed plants important? ›

    Seed plants provide shelter to many life forms, as well as food for herbivores, thereby indirectly feeding carnivores. Plant secondary metabolites are used for medicinal purposes and industrial production.

    What are the 10 stages of plant growth? ›

    Zadoks decimal growth scale is based on ten cereal growth stages. These are: 0 germination; 1 seedling growth (leaves on main stem); 2 tillering; 3 stem elongation (nodes); 4 booting; 5 ear emergence; 6 flowering; 7 milk development; 8 dough development; 9 ripening.

    What is the life cycle of a seed? ›

    The plant life cycle consists of four stages; seed, sprout, small plant, and adult plant. When the seed gets planted into the soil with water and sun, then it will start to grow into a small sprout.

    What is evolution of seed size? ›

    A plant's seed size is correlated with its life-history strategy, growth form, and seed dispersal syndrome. The fossil record indicates that the oldest seed plants had relatively small seeds, but the Mississippian seed size envelope increased significantly with the diversification of larger seeded lineages.

    Which of the seed plants evolved most recently? ›

    This may have set the scene for the appearance of the flowering plants in the Triassic (~200 million years ago), and their later diversification in the Cretaceous and Paleogene. The latest major group of plants to evolve were the grasses, which became important in the mid-Paleogene, from around 40 million years ago.

    Did seeds evolve first? ›

    These extra features took another 150 million years to evolve, whereupon the first seed-bearing plants emerged. So plants came first, by a long way. Read more: Do plants die of old age?

    What are the 8 steps in sowing seeds? ›

    When direct sowing seeds, follow these steps:
    • Prepare the garden bed. Prepare an area of your garden by pulling back any mulch and pulling out any weeds or old plants. ...
    • Sow the seeds. Place the seeds into the soil twice as deep as the seed is wide. ...
    • Water in the seeds. ...
    • Thin the seedlings out. ...
    • Watch them grow.

    What are the 5 methods of seed? ›

    There are five main modes of seed dispersal: gravity, wind, ballistic, water, and by animals. Some plants are serotinous and only disperse their seeds in response to an environmental stimulus.

    What are the 3 stages in a seed plants life cycle? ›

    The simplest way to describe plant growth is in 3 stages: Seed stage. Growth stage. Reproductive stage.

    What are the basics of seed anatomy? ›

    Most seeds consist of three parts: embryo, endosperm, and seed coat. The embryo is a tiny plant that has a root, a stem, and one or more leaves. The endosperm is the nutritive tissue of the seed, often a combination of starch, oil, and protein.

    What happens to a seed after 5 days? ›

    Day 5 - Root starts to split into multiple nodes. Day 6 - Seed may begin to open up and allow the plant stem to start moving up.

    How did plants begin? ›

    Plants are thought to have evolved from an aquatic green alga protist. Later, they evolved important adaptations for land, including vascular tissues, seeds, and flowers. Each of these major adaptations made plants better suited for life on dry land. The oldest fossils of land plants date back about 470 million years.

    How many stages of plant evolution are there? ›

    The Plant Cycle can be broadly divided into phases: the haploid phase, the gametophyte phase, and the diploid phase, also known as the sporophyte phase. The alternation of generations refers to how these stages alternate.

    What is the evolution cycle of plants? ›

    The main stages in the life cycle of a plant are seed germination, seedling formation, growth, development and differentiation leading to a mature plant, pollination and fertilisation and the formation of fruit and seeds.

    What are the 4 evolutionary categories of plants? ›

    There are four major evolutionary groups of land plants: Bryophytes, Seedless Vascular Plants (SVPs), Gymnosperms, and Angiosperms.

    Which plant evolved first? ›

    The earliest known vascular plants come from the Silurian period. Cooksonia is often regarded as the earliest known fossil of a vascular land plant, and dates from just 425 million years ago in the late Early Silurian. It was a small plant, only a few centimetres high.

    Who is the father of plant evolution? ›

    Charles Darwin and the Origins of Plant Evolutionary Developmental Biology.

    What are the two types of seed plants? ›

    The seed plants are often divided arbitrarily into two groups: the gymnosperms and the angiosperms. The basis for this distinction is that angiosperms produce flowers, while the gymnosperms do not.

    What are the 3 main structures of seed plants? ›

    Seed plants have only three organs, and you already know them. They are leaves, stems, and roots (Figure 1.2). These organs in turn are made up of tissues that are much simpler in comparison with those found in vertebrate animals. Flowers are the reproductive structures of angiosperms that are modified from leaves.

    What are the 3 conditions for a seed to grow? ›

    All seeds need water, oxygen, and proper temperature in order to germinate. Some seeds require proper light also.

    What are the 3 types of seeds? ›

    Types of Seeds: Heirloom, Hybrid, and Open-Pollinated Seeds.

    What was the oldest seed plant called? ›

    The oldest carbon-14-dated plant tissue that has grown into a viable adult plant was a Silene stenophylla (narrow-leafed campion), an Arctic flower native to Siberia.

    What are 5 examples of plant adaptations? ›

    Adaptations to note:
    JuniperWaxy berriesWaxy (prevent water loss)
    YuccaTall stalkPointy (protect)
    Prickly PearSpine (protect)
    SagebrushHairy (water loss);Very light colored;Small leaves
    1 more row
    Nov 16, 2022

    What are two evolutionary adaptations of plants? ›

    Plant adaptations to life on land include the development of many structures — a water-repellent cuticle, stomata to regulate water evaporation, specialized cells to provide rigid support against gravity, specialized structures to collect sunlight, alternation of haploid and diploid generations, sexual organs, a ...

    What are the most evolved plants? ›

    Angiosperms include about 250,000 species and are the most recently and highly evolved plants on Earth.

    How did the seeds become a plant? ›

    When seeds are planted, they first grow roots. Once these roots take hold, a small plant will begin to emerge and eventually break through the soil. When this happens, we say that the seed has sprouted. The scientific name for this process is germination.

    What are the plants in order of evolution? ›

    What is the order of plant evolution? The order of plant evolution is green algae, bryophytes, vascular tissue develops, seedless plants, seed plants, gymnosperms and angiosperms.

    What were the first seeded plants? ›

    The oldest known seed plant is Elkinsia polymorpha, a "seed fern" from Late Devonian (Famennian) of West Virginia. Though the fossils consist only of small seed-bearing shoots, these fragments are quite well-preserved. This has allowed us to learn details about the evolutionary development of the seed.

    What is an example of plant evolution? ›

    What are some examples of evolution in the plant world? Vascular tissues, seeds, flowers, and stomata are major examples of evolution in the plant world.

    Why is plant evolution important? ›

    During evolution, plants have acquired a vascular system, which has greatly contributed to the success of land plants. The vascular system allows plants to rapidly transport water and nutrients over long distances between roots, growing deeply in soil, and shoots, growing upward toward the sun.

    How did plants grow without seeds? ›

    Some plants, like ferns and mosses, grow from spores. Other plants use asexual vegetative reproduction and grow new plants from rhizomes or tubers. We can also use techniques like grafting or take cuttings to make new plants.

    Are seeds alive before they are planted? ›

    Yes, seeds are very much alive! At least the seeds that we use to grow food are alive. Seeds can die if they're not properly cared for, if they get too hot or cold or wet. But under the right conditions, they're just dormant.

    What is the oldest plant evolution? ›

    All the analyses indicate that land plants first appeared about 500 million years ago, during the Cambrian period, when the development of multicellular animal species took off.

    What are the 5 stages of evolution in order? ›

    In fact, it is so simple that it can be broken down into five basic steps, abbreviated here as VISTA: Variation, Inheritance, Selection, Time and Adaptation.

    What is the oldest plant to evolve? ›

    Cooksonia is often regarded as the earliest known fossil of a vascular land plant, and dates from just 425 million years ago in the late Early Silurian.


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