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Mol Biol Evol. 2000 Dec;17(12):1885-95.

Multigene phylogeny of land plants with special reference to bryophytes and the earliest land plants.

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  • 1Department of Plant Biology, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, 62901-6509, USA. nickrent@plant.siu.edu

Abstract

A widely held view of land plant relationships places liverworts as the first branch of the land plant tree, whereas some molecular analyses and a cladistic study of morphological characters indicate that hornworts are the earliest land plants. To help resolve this conflict, we used parsimony and likelihood methods to analyze a 6, 095-character data set composed of four genes (chloroplast rbcL and small-subunit rDNA from all three plant genomes) from all major land plant lineages. In all analyses, significant support was obtained for the monophyly of vascular plants, lycophytes, ferns (including PSILOTUM: and EQUISETUM:), seed plants, and angiosperms. Relationships among the three bryophyte lineages were unresolved in parsimony analyses in which all positions were included and weighted equally. However, in parsimony and likelihood analyses in which rbcL third-codon-position transitions were either excluded or downweighted (due to apparent saturation), hornworts were placed as sister to all other land plants, with mosses and liverworts jointly forming the second deepest lineage. Decay analyses and Kishino-Hasegawa tests of the third-position-excluded data set showed significant support for the hornwort-basal topology over several alternative topologies, including the commonly cited liverwort-basal topology. Among the four genes used, mitochondrial small-subunit rDNA showed the lowest homoplasy and alone recovered essentially the same topology as the multigene tree. This molecular phylogeny presents new opportunities to assess paleontological evidence and morphological innovations that occurred during the early evolution of terrestrial plants.

PMID:
11110905
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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