Phylogenetic significance of the rpoA loss in the chloroplast genome of mosses
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 patens the gene has been transferred to the nuclear genome. Subsequently the gene was recorded from the cytoplasmic genome in Takakia and 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 rpoA gene yield a product that contains the gene in Takakia, Sphagnum, Andreaea, Oedipodium, Polytrichaceae, and Buxbaumia. The gene is lacking in all arthrodontous mosses, including Diphyscium but also in both species of Tetraphis. Reconstruction of the transfer on the phylogeny of mosses suggests (a) that the rpoA gene was lost twice and (b) that the gene was lost after the divergence of Buxbaumiidae and prior to the divergence of Diphyscium from the remaining Bryopsida.
Goffinet, B; Wickett, NJ; Shaw, AJ; Cox, CJ
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