Moss (Physcomitrella patens) functional genomics--Gene discovery and tool development, with implications for crop plants and human health

Brief Funct Genomic Proteomic. 2005 May;4(1):48-57. doi: 10.1093/bfgp/4.1.48.


Recently, the moss Physcomitrella patens was established as a versatile tool in plant functional genomics. Mosses represent the oldest living clade of land plants, separated by approximately 450 million years of evolution from crop plants. Consequently, mosses contain metabolites and genes not known from these seed plants. In Physcomitrella, nuclear genes can be targeted by homologous recombination as efficiently as in yeast, allowing reverse genetics approaches in plants at high-throughput levels for the first time. Comprehensive expressed sequence tag databases gave new insights into the levels of diversity in land plants which are now ready to be exploited in plant biotechnology. In forward genetics screens, saturated tagged mutant collections help to unravel novel gene - function relationships. Additionally, proteomics tools are at hand to analyse subcellular proteomes, as well as the phosphoproteome, as the core of eukaryotic signal transduction. Moreover, specifically designed Physcomitrella strains can produce human therapeutic proteins safely and cost-effectively in bioreactors.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bioreactors
  • Biotechnology / methods
  • Bryopsida / genetics*
  • Crops, Agricultural / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Gene Library
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Signal Transduction


  • RNA, Messenger