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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2003 Dec;29(3):456-63.

Molecular adaptation and the origin of land plants.

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  • 1Department of Biology, San Diego State University, 5500 Campanile Dr, San Diego, CA 92182-4614, USA.


The origin and diversification of land plants was one of the most important biological radiations. Land plants are crucial components of all modern terrestrial ecosystems. The first land plants had to adapt to a wide array of new environmental challenges including desiccation, varying temperatures, and increased UV radiation. There have been numerous studies of the morphological adaptations to life on land. However the molecular adaptations to life on land have only recently gained attention. These studies have greatly benefited from the recent advances in our understanding of the phylogenetic relationships between and among the charophycean algae and the basal land plant groups. In this review I summarize the current knowledge of a variety of physiological and biochemical adaptations to land including plant growth hormones, isoprene, phenolics, and heat shock proteins.

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