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

Bernard Goffinet*, Norman J. Wickett, Olaf Werner, Rosa Maria Ros, A. Jonathan Shaw, Cymon J. Cox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


• 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. • Methods: 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. • Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-753
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of botany
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


  • Bryophyta
  • Funariaceae
  • Funariales
  • Gigaspermaceae
  • Inversion
  • Physcomitrella patens
  • Plastid genome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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