Pines and Viroids: On The Deep Past And Imminent Future of Life

Recently I've been writing a fair amount about plants--what they can tell us about the deep history of life, as well as what life will be like for them in the near future.

Tomatoes, dahlias, and many other cultivated plants can fall victim to a strange infection. The pathogen is not a fungus or a bacterium or even a virus. Instead, it's a naked snippet of genes known as a viroid. A team of scientists is convinced that viroids are relics of the earliest stages of life on Earth, a form of life that evolved before the dawn of DNA. For the rest of the story, see my ...

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