Liverworts occupy a basal position in the evolution of land plants, and are a key group to address a wide variety of questions in plant biology. Marchantia polymorpha is a common, easily cultivated, dioecious liverwort species, and is emerging as an experimental model organism. The haploid gametophytic generation dominates the diploid sporophytic generation in its life cycle. Genetically homogeneous lines in the gametophyte generation can be established easily and propagated through asexual reproduction, which aids genetic and biochemical experiments. Owing to its dioecy, male and female sexual organs are formed in separate individuals, which enables crossing in a fully controlled manner. Reproductive growth can be induced at the desired times under laboratory conditions, which helps genetic analysis. The developmental process from a single-celled spore to a multicellular body can be observed directly in detail. As a model organism, molecular techniques for M. polymorpha are well developed; for example, simple and efficient protocols of Agrobacterium-mediated transformation have been established. Based on them, various strategies for molecular genetics, such as introduction of reporter constructs, overexpression, gene silencing and targeted gene modification, are available. Herein, we describe the technologies and resources for reverse and forward genetics in M. polymorpha, which offer an excellent experimental platform to study the evolution and diversity of regulatory systems in land plants.
Keywords: Bryophytes; Evo-devo; Evolution; Molecular genetics.
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