New study enabled by the BRC

Physcomitrium pyriforme (Goffinet &  Smith)

The first ordinal phylogenetic study of mosses based on loci from all three genomic compartments was published by Liu et al. Dr. Liu and Medina were former research associates in the Goffinet lab. This study was made possible by the collections held in several herbaria including our CONN collections.

Liu Y., M. G. Johnson, C. J. Cox, R. Medina, N. Devos, A. Vanderpoorten, L. Hedenäs, N. E. Bell, J. R. Shevock, B. Aguero, D. Quandt, N. J. Wickett, A. J. Shaw & B. Goffinet. 2019. Resolution of the backbone phylogeny of mosses using targeted exons from organellar and nuclear genomes. Nature Communications 10: 1485. pdf

Abstract reads: Mosses are a highly diverse lineage of land plants, whose diversification, spanning at least 400 million years, remains phylogenetically ambiguous due to the lack of fossils, massive early extinctions, late radiations, limited morphological variation, and conflicting signal among previously used markers. Here, we present phylogenetic reconstructions based on complete organellar exomes and a comparable set of nuclear genes for this major lineage of land plants. Our analysis of 142 species representing 29 of the 30 moss orders reveals that relative average rates of non-synonymous substitutions in nuclear versus plastid genes are much higher in mosses than in seed plants, consistent with the emerging concept of evolutionary dynamism in mosses. Our results highlight the evolutionary significance of taxa with reduced morphologies, shed light on the relative tempo and mechanisms underlying major cladogenic events, and suggest hypotheses for the relationships and delineation of moss orders.