The September 2022 issue of Nature Plants includes two papers describing the analysis of homosporous fern genomes. Ferns are interesting for many reasons including the diversity of the clade, their typically very large genomes, their often free-living gametophytes, and in many cases, homospory (a single type of spore), which is distinct from angiosperm’s heterospory (separate male and female spores). The first of these papers, by Marchant, Chen, and Cai et al., describes the “Dynamic genome evolution in a model fern.” Ceratopteris richardii, also known as C-fern, has been a useful model system in many classrooms (https://c-fern.org/). The authors explored the presence of genes associated with flowering and reproduction in this non-flowering plant, as well as genes derived from horizontal gene transfer and genes that might contribute to medicinal properties. The second paper explores the genome of maiden hair fern, Adiantum capillus-veneris L. Key findings from this work include the phylogenetic analysis of genes that are involved in seed desiccation tolerance and genes involved in defense responses and leaf development. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Nature Plants 10.1038/s41477-022-01226-7 and 10.1038/s41477-022-01222-x.
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