Penium margaritaceum genome bears footprints of evolutionary origins of land plants (bioRxiv)

The Zygnematophyceae are the green algae that are most closely related to land plants. Some species in this clade are considered subaerial, meaning that they can live under air (as opposed to under water). The green films you see on tree trunks and walls are often Zygnematophycaea. Several new insights into the terrestrialization of land plants have emerged from genome sequences and functional analyses of this group of near-plant relatives. In a new preprint, Jiao, Sørensen, and Sun share insights from Penium margaritaceum, a single-celled member of the Zygnematophyceae. In this genome, the authors found abundant transposable elements that might have contributed to genetic innovations, and evidence for the emergence and amplification of gene families associated with terrestrialization. Among these are the machinery for remodeling the cell walls into those suitable for life on land. (Summary by Mary Williams) bioRxiv  10.1101/835561