Researchers at The Sainsbury Laboratory have recently released a paper onto BioRxiv that looks at the differences in genes found in aquatic and land plants.
All plants share a common ancestor with green algae, but diverged along time ago due to their move from water to land. When they moved onto land they became exposed to new pathogens. By looking at the difference in genes between aquatic and land plants the researchers are able to identify specific genes involved in pathogen immunity and also drought response. They have revealed a minimum plant immune response required for life under water and also the additional components of the response that are required in land plants.
These insights are hoped to be able to benefit modern agriculture as crops are continuously exposed to pathogens and drought conditions, sometimes causing massive losses in yield. By understanding the genes involved in responses we may one day be able to manipulate our crops to survive these conditions.
Read the full paper here: www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/572560v1.full