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Botanists refine family tree for flowering plants

Two research teams have each used the biggest collection yet of flowering-plant genes to map out the floral family tree.

"We got the same answer," says Michael J. Moore of Oberlin College in Ohio. Both family trees show the same basic arrangement of the eight lineages that still bloom today. Five of the eight appear as short branches at the top, a sign that the five more-recent lineages split from each other rapidly. The new analyses calculate that when these lineages split at least 125 million years ago, the divisions took place in less than 5 million years.

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