A significant body of work on the evolution of land plants has been conducted in 2022. The research led from Chief Investigator John Bowman’s lab provides new insights into the mechanisms controlling the development and reproduction of non-vascular plants, and outlines the benefit of using liverworts as a model system. By providing insights into the evolution of vascular plants, the work could lead to new knowledge that has implications for the development of strategies to improve crop productivity and environmental sustainability.
By using genome sequences that have provided unprecedented insights into the evolution of key developmental or physiological attributes, “The origin of a land flora” by Bowman provides a review of the current understanding of the origin and evolution of land plants. Bowman highlights some of the key innovations that allowed land plants to overcome new environmental challenges and succeed in their new environment, such as the development of new mechanisms for water transport, nutrient uptake, and reproduction. Combining the recent genomic data with the fossil record facilitates new hypotheses of early land plant morphology and potential evolutionary pathways.
The article “The renaissance and enlightenment of Marchantia as a model system” by Bowman et al. explores the use of Marchantia, a type of liverwort, as a model system in biological research. The study highlights the advantages of using Marchantia as a model system, including its simple morphology, ease of cultivation, transformation, and rapid growth. The authors highlight recent advances in genetic and genomic tools that have made it possible to study the molecular mechanisms that control various aspects of Marchantia’s development and physiology more easily. The authors suggest that the use of Marchantia as a model system has the potential to shed light on fundamental questions in plant biology and could have practical applications in fields such as agriculture and biotechnology.
The study “KANADI promotes thallus differentiation and FR-induced gametangiophore formation in the liverwort Marchantia” by Briginshaw et al. explores the role of a protein involved in converting DNA to RNA in the development of Marchantia and compares the results to how the protein acts in vascular plants. The study shows that the protein is involved in the differentiation of the plant’s thallus – the flat, photosynthetic body that makes up the main part of the liverwort. The researchers found that when the protein is disrupted, the thallus fails to differentiate properly, and the plant is unable to form specialised structures called gametangiophores that are necessary for sexual reproduction. This finding provides insight into how genes direct development of plants with different body plans.
READ THE ARTICLES:
Bowman, J.L. (2022). The origin of a land flora. Nature Plants, 8(12), pp.1352–1369. doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-022-01283-y.
Bowman, J.L., Arteaga-Vazquez, M., Berger, F., Briginshaw, L.N., Carella, P., Aguilar-Cruz, A., Davies, K.M., Dierschke, T., Dolan, L., Dorantes-Acosta, A.E., Fisher, T.J., Flores-Sandoval, E., Futagami, K., Ishizaki, K., Jibran, R., Kanazawa, T., Kato, H., Kohchi, T., Levins, J. and Lin, S.-S. (2022). The renaissance and enlightenment of Marchantia as a model system. The Plant Cell, 34(10), pp.3512–3542. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/plcell/koac219.
Briginshaw, L.N., Flores‐Sandoval, E., Dierschke, T., Alvarez, J.P. and Bowman, J.L. (2022). KANADI promotes thallus differentiation and FR‐induced gametangiophore formation in the liverwort Marchantia. New Phytologist, 234(4), pp.1377–1393. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.18046.