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Systematic position of the enigmatic liverwort Mizutania (Mizutaniaceae, Marchantiophyta) inferred from molecular phylogenetic analyses

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Abstract:

Phylogenetic analyses of liverworts using chloroplast rbcL and rps4 sequences were performed with special reference to the enigmatic thalloid liverwort, Mizutania riccardioides. The results showed that Mizutania is nested within leafy liverwort family Calypogeiaceae (subclass Jungermanniidae), thereby refuting the traditional interpretation that Mizutania is a member of the simple thalloid liverworts (subclass Metzgeriidae) related to Aneuraceae. Male plants with three ranked bracts, which are newly discovered in this study, also show a close morphological affinity to those of leafy liverworts. Parallel evolution of the flattened gametophyte seems to have occurred sporadically in the Jungermanniidae in association with adaptation to prostrate growth on the ground or on living leaves. The unistratose thalloid features of Mizutania are interpreted as an extremely reduced or highly specialized form of a creeping leafy liverwort. The rudimentary sexual branches which develop on the margins of the thallus are similar in many characteristics to those of Calypogeiaceae. We reduce the monotypic family Mizutaniaceae to a synonym of Calypogeiaceae.

Keywords: MIZUTANIA; MOLECULAR PHYLOGENY; RBCL; RPS4

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University, Kagamiyama 1-3-1, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8526, Japan;, Email: masuhiro@hiroshima-u.ac.jp 2: Department of Biological Science, Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University, Kagamiyama 1-3-1, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8526, Japan 3: Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba, Aoba-cho 955-2, Chuo-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba 260-8682, Japan 4: Miyajima Natural Botanical Garden, Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University, Mitsumaruko-yama 1156-2, Miyajima-cho, Hatsukaichi 739-0543, Japan 5: Biology Department, University Brunei Darussalam, Jalan Tungku Link, Gadong, Brunei Darussalam BE1410

Publication date: April 1, 2010

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