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High on oxygen

Organisms living at elevation are exposed to a constant state of hypoxia compared to those at low altitude. A recent study1 has shown that flowering plants acclimatize to high altitude through natural variation in molecular oxygen (O2) sensing, with high-altitude populations exhibiting increased O2 sensitivity to balance physiological and metabolic outputs. This finding demonstrates convergent mechanisms for altitude adaptation across eukaryotic kingdoms despite differences in the hypoxia-signalling pathways of plants and animals.

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Fig. 1: Angiosperm adaptation to altitude through altered sensitivity to O2.


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D.J.G. and R.O. were supported by the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant 715441-GasPlaNt) and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (grant BB/V008587/1).

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Correspondence to Daniel J. Gibbs.

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Gibbs, D.J., Osborne, R. High on oxygen. Nat. Plants 8, 731–732 (2022).

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