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Phylogenetic significance of the rpoA loss in the chloroplast genome of mosses

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A recent survey of arthrodontous mosses revealed that their chloroplast genome lacks the gene encoding the alpha subunit of the RNA polymerase (i.e., rpoA), and that at least in Physcomitrella patensthe gene has been transferred to the nuclear genome. Subsequently the gene was recorded from the cytoplasmic genome in Takakiaand Sphagnum. Here we extend the survey to representatives of all major lineages of mosses to determine when in the evolutionary history of the Bryophyta the loss took place. Amplifications using primers annealing to the flanking regions of the rpoAgene yield a product that contains the gene in Takakia, Sphagnum, Andreaea, Oedipodium, Polytrichaceae, and Buxbaumia. The gene is lacking in all arthrodontous mosses, including Diphysciumbut also in both species of Tetraphis. Reconstruction of the transfer on the phylogeny of mosses suggests (a) that the rpoAgene was lost twice and (b) that the gene was lost after the divergence of Buxbaumiidae and prior to the divergence of Diphysciumfrom the remaining Bryopsida.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs 06269, Connecticut, U.S.A. 2: Department of Biology, Duke University, Durham 27708, North Carolina, U.S.A.

Publication date: 01 May 2005

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