Insights into Land Plant Evolution Garnered from the Marchantia polymorpha Genome

Cell. 2017 Oct 5;171(2):287-304.e15. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.09.030.


The evolution of land flora transformed the terrestrial environment. Land plants evolved from an ancestral charophycean alga from which they inherited developmental, biochemical, and cell biological attributes. Additional biochemical and physiological adaptations to land, and a life cycle with an alternation between multicellular haploid and diploid generations that facilitated efficient dispersal of desiccation tolerant spores, evolved in the ancestral land plant. We analyzed the genome of the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha, a member of a basal land plant lineage. Relative to charophycean algae, land plant genomes are characterized by genes encoding novel biochemical pathways, new phytohormone signaling pathways (notably auxin), expanded repertoires of signaling pathways, and increased diversity in some transcription factor families. Compared with other sequenced land plants, M. polymorpha exhibits low genetic redundancy in most regulatory pathways, with this portion of its genome resembling that predicted for the ancestral land plant. PAPERCLIP.

Keywords: Marchantia polymorpha; auxin; charophycean algae; land plant evolution; sex chromosome.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Biological
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Embryophyta / genetics*
  • Embryophyta / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Marchantia / genetics*
  • Marchantia / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Annotation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic