Crowdfunded fern genomes published in Nature Plants

Photo: Laura Dijkhuizen

On July 17, 2014, the world decided it wanted to learn the genomic secrets hidden in the beautiful little, floating water fern, Azolla filiculoides. Not only did they want to know, but they paid for it too – a whopping $22,160 from 123 backers – through a crowdfunding site called Experiment.com (Azolla, a little fern with massive green potential).

Four years later, they have what they paid for, and more! The project was backed at 147% of the budgeted goal, which allowed the researchers to sequence and analyze the first fern genome ever. With the extra funds, they could sequence a second fern, Salvinia cucullata. Their results appear this month in the journal Nature Plants (Fern genomes elucidate land plant evolution and cyanobacterial symbioses).. . . . (read more Fern-tastic!