New analysis of molecular signatures suggests plants are adapting the higher rates of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Previous research has suggested rising CO2 levels would encourage accelerated plant growth in the short term, and indeed, greening has been documented across much of the globe.

But as Gail Taylor, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Southampton, recently pointed out: “[Few studies have] given us any insight into the long-term impacts of rising CO2 over multiple generations, and none have been undertaken on the molecular signature underpinning such adaptation.”

Specimens of the plant species Plantago lanceolata, found near high carbon dioxide springs, possessed hundreds of differently expressed genes. Photo by University of Southampton. More