Mosses as model systems for the study of metabolism and development

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2006;57:497-520. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.57.032905.105338.


The haploid gametophyte stage of the moss life cycle is amenable to genetic and biochemical studies. Many species can be cultured on simple defined media, where growth is rapid, making them ideal material for metabolic studies. Developmental responses to hormones and to environmental inputs can be studied both at the level of individual cells and in multicellular tissues. The protonemal stage of gametophyte development comprises cell filaments that extend by the serial division of their apical cells, allowing the investigation of the generation and modification of cell polarity and the role of the cytoskeleton in these processes. Molecular techniques including gene inactivation by targeted gene replacement or by RNA interference, together with the nearly completed sequencing of the Physcomitrella patens genome, open the way for detailed study of the functions of genes involved in both development and metabolism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bryophyta / growth & development*
  • Bryophyta / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological*