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Proc Biol Sci. 2013 Mar 27;280(1759):20130207. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2013.0207. Print 2013 May 22.

Fungal symbioses in hornworts: a chequered history.

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1
Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Turin, Viale P.A. Mattioli 25, 10125, Turin, Italy. alessandro.desiro@unito.it

Abstract

Hornworts are considered the sister group to vascular plants, but their fungal associations remain largely unexplored. The ancestral symbiotic condition for all plants is, nonetheless, widely assumed to be arbuscular mycorrhizal with Glomeromycota fungi. Owing to a recent report of other fungi in some non-vascular plants, here we investigate the fungi associated with diverse hornworts worldwide, using electron microscopy and molecular phylogenetics. We found that both Glomeromycota and Mucoromycotina fungi can form symbioses with most hornworts, often simultaneously. This discovery indicates that ancient terrestrial plants relied on a wider and more versatile symbiotic repertoire than previously thought, and it highlights the so far unappreciated ecological and evolutionary role of Mucoromycotina fungi.

PMID:
23536598
PMCID:
PMC3619511
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2013.0207
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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