A team of 70 scientists from the U.S., China, Australia and Japan today reports having sequenced and annotated the genome of the “sacred lotus,” which is believed to have a powerful genetic system that repairs genetic defects, and may hold secrets about aging successfully. The scientists sequenced more than 86 percent of the nearly 27,000 genes of the plant, Nelumbo nucifera, which is revered in China and elsewhere as a symbol of spiritual purity and longevity.
“The lotus genome is an ancient one, and we now know its ABCs,” said Jane Shen-Miller, one of three corresponding authors of the research and a senior scientist with UCLA’s Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life. “Molecular biologists can now more easily study how its genes are turned on and off during times of stress and why this plant’s seeds can live for 1,300 years. This is a step toward learning what anti-aging secrets the sacred lotus plant may offer.” (more…)