The Plant That Took Over America

Sphagnum subnitens. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

It grows, it spreads, it takes over North America… its peat moss. Now I know that peat moss isn’t exactly the most exciting of topics, but the article Single peat moss plant ‘conquered America’ stood out to me for a few reasons.

I have written a lot about genome sequencing and genetics, and this research sequenced the genome of the peat moss Sphagnum subnitens, and found that all the samples they collected were genetically identical. This means that there is a common ancestor for the peat moss that spread prolifically throughout North America. 
The research was conducted by teams from Ramapo College in New Jersey (another reason why this article caught my attention,) Binghamton University in New York, and Duke University in North Carolina.  The different types of peat moss vary in color and are found in distinct locations, which makes the 100% genetic match all the more amazing. 
The moss species reproduces sexually, but a single plant can make both the necessary sperm and eggs so its offspring are genetically identical, without being asexually reproduced clones.