Discover magazine


First Fern Genome Shows Unique Bacterial Partnership


This article and research further supports James Lovelock and the Daisyworld hypothesis.  Question?  What probable action that we know of will lower the CO2 such that we won’t skip another ice age?  If we don’t have another ice age, then what property or force that we know of will curtail the non-linear increase in CO2.

My previous post about the CO2 and methane being produced under and around thawing permafrost lakes will increase CO2 and with rising oceans, there will be more swamp and more vegetation under water which will increase CO2 and methane from rotting plants.  Why should we not be very, very afraid on behalf of Gaia?



“Though it’s little, the tiny fern Azolla may have changed the world 50 million years ago. Fossil records from the Arctic suggest that these fast-growing, carbon-sequestering ferns removed enough carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere to cool the then-greenhouse globe and allow today’s polar ice caps to form.

In more recent Earth history, rice farmers in Asia have been using Azolla as a natural fertilizer for over 1,000 years. Nostoc azollae, a cyanobacterium species that lives inside Azolla leaves, captures nitrogen from the air and converts it into a form that the ferns — and rice plants — can use.

Many plants have symbiotic relationships with the bacteria living inside them, but Azolla’s partnership with Nostoc is unique because the bacterium lives inside the fern for its whole life and transfers from parent to child when Azolla reproduces. It’s a microbial inheritance that most plants don’t get — they must start fresh with bacteria from the environment.

Evidence hinted that the Azolla fern and its cyanobacterium partner might share a long evolutionary past together. Unraveling the details of their evolutionary history was one reason Li and his team wanted to sequence the Azolla genome.”


“Ferns may have been overlooked partly because they have a reputation for massive genomes that would be expensive to sequence — the average fern has about four times the genetic information of a human — and because the benefits of sequencing fern genomes is not immediately obvious compared to sequencing the genomes of other plants, like agricultural crops.”


“Comparing the new Azolla genome with the previously-sequenced Nostoc genome confirms that the fern and the cyanobacterium have been partners for as long as 100 million years, evolving and branching into new species together. From experiments with the fern’s genome, Li’s team found that the cyanobacterium’s ability to capture nitrogen from air keeps the fern nourished when other nitrogen sources aren’t available.”


“Li’s team studied the fern genomes to track down the origin of the natural pesticides and found evidence that in Salvinia, the pesticide protein might have come from bacteria rather than from plant ancestors. Transferring genes between species is fairly common among bacteria (this is what makes bacteria so good at resisting antibiotics) but rare in more complex life, like plants.”