Distribution and phylogenetic significance of the 71-kb inversion in the plastid genome in Funariidae (Bryophyta).

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Background and aims

The recent assembly of the complete sequence of the plastid genome of the model taxon Physcomitrella patens (Funariaceae, Bryophyta) revealed that a 71-kb fragment, encompassing much of the large single copy region, is inverted. This inversion of 57% of the genome is the largest rearrangement detected in the plastid genomes of plants to date. Although initially considered diagnostic of Physcomitrella patens, the inversion was recently shown to characterize the plastid genome of two species from related genera within Funariaceae, but was lacking in another member of Funariidae. The phylogenetic significance of the inversion has remained ambiguous.


Exemplars of all families included in Funariidae were surveyed. DNA sequences spanning the inversion break ends were amplified, using primers that anneal to genes on either side of the putative end points of the inversion. Primer combinations were designed to yield a product for either the inverted or the non-inverted architecture.

Key results

The survey reveals that exemplars of eight genera of Funariaceae, the sole species of Disceliaceae and three generic representatives of Encalyptales all share the 71-kb inversion in the large single copy of the plastid genome. By contrast, the plastid genome of Gigaspermaceae (Funariales) is characterized by a gene order congruent with that described for other mosses, liverworts and hornworts, and hence it does not possess this inversion.


The phylogenetic distribution of the inversion in the gene order supports a hypothesis only weakly supported by inferences from sequence data whereby Funariales are paraphyletic, with Funariaceae and Disceliaceae sharing a common ancestor with Encalyptales, and Gigaspermaceae sister to this combined clade. To reflect these relationships, Gigaspermaceae are excluded from Funariales and accommodated in their own order, Gigaspermales order nov., within Funariideae.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Goffinet, B; Wickett, NJ; Werner, O; Ros, RM; Shaw, AJ; Cox, CJ

Published Date

  • April 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 99 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 747 - 753

PubMed ID

  • 17337480

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2802940

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-8290

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0305-7364

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/aob/mcm010


  • eng