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IISER Bhopal Scientists Discover New Species

The African Violet Plant From Mizoram discovery shows that the biodiversity of the Northeastern parts of India is understudied and there are many species of plants that remain undiscovered.

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal Researchers have recently discovered a new species of plant belonging to the African Violets family in Mizoram and adjacent areas in Myanmar. Along with other discoveries by the IISER Bhopal Research Team in the past few years, this discovery shows that the biodiversity of the Northeastern parts of India is understudied and there are many species of plants that remain undiscovered.

This discovery is an outcome of extensive fieldwork across northeast India coupled with rigorous study of past collections kept in herbariums across the world. 

The discovery has been published in the reputed journal Systematic Botany (a peer-reviewed journal published by the American Society for Plant Taxonomists) in a paper co-authored by Mr Prasanna N.S., Research Scholar, and Dr Vinita Gowda, Associate Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, IISER Bhopal.

The new discovery brings new insights into the unique evolutionary trajectory of flora in this region of India. Beyond the academic desire to document biodiversity, finding the ‘missing pieces’ of the biodiversity puzzle are important in designing conservation approaches to protect the fragile ecosystem of such hotspots.

The biodiversity in this region of the country is poorly known due to low priority in research, inaccessibility and remoteness, challenges that are being tackled by research groups such as the TrEE lab. The team combines traditional processes of taxonomy with modern methods such as molecular phylogenetics to unravel the biodiversity of the Northeast and place it in the context of the larger Asian landscape.  




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