Moss helps chart the conquest of land by plants

WUSTL researchers have shed light on one of the most important events in earth history, the conquest of land by plants. No would-be colonizer could have survived without the ability to deal with dehydration, a major threat for organisms accustomed to soaking in water. Clues to how the first land plants managed to avoid drying out are provided by the drought-tolerant moss Physcomitrella patens.

Moss protein plays role in Alzheimer’s disease

Preventing Alzheimer’s disease is a goal of Raphael Kopan, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and pharmacology at the Washington University School of Medicine. The moss plant Physcomitrella patens, studied in the laboratory of Ralph S. Quatrano, Ph.D., the Spencer T. Olin Professor and chair of the biology department on WUSTL’s Danforth Campus, might inch Kopan toward that goal.