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Botanical Mysteries

Rebecca Xavier, Guest Writer

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In the biotechnology world, there has been many new discoveries and revelations. One of the newest is when scientists have been doing Phylogenetic testing on a seemingly extinct plant called Dracaena umbraculifera. This plant was described in 1797 as plant coming from Mauritius. However scientists have failed to relocate this plant in any other circumstance which is why this plant was known to be extinct in the wild and not in man made gardens.

Scientists have done multiple different experiments on testing and trying to find this plant, Dracaena umbraculifera. The purpose of these experiments was to find where the plant originated, what their ancestors are, if it’s extinct, and whether are not the plant has conservational value. All these experiments were based on morphology in terms of biology.

Through these experiments they discovered a few things. They found many different origin plants in private gardens and in other locations such as Madagascar. These plants are known to be ancestors of Dracaena umbraculifera because of their cpDNA similarities. From this the scientists performed many tests in the Madagascar wild and they found many results. In Madagascar there are five different wild plantations spread across the entire country. This provides many opportunities and possible hypothesis’ as to why scientists were not able to find this specific species of plants. Madagascar is mostly covered with vast tropical rainforests which makes it almost impossible to identify smaller and less plentiful plants located on the base of the rainforest. This trait intrigues scientists to start searching for more plants that might be thought to be extinct.  

Overall the species studies and experimentations of looking for Dracaena umbraculifera has inspired scientists to start making new discoveries in areas like Madagascar. This study shows the importance of researching living collections of species to hopefully inspire new discoveries. Also these experiments themselves demonstrate the importance of writing down studies so assumptions aren’t form because there is no scientific evidence.

 

Sources:

Featured image is from https://adriancolston.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/a-botanical-mystery/

 

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Botanical Mysteries