Phylogenetic significance of the rpoA loss in the chloroplast genome of mosses

Bernard Goffinet*, Norman J. Wickett, A. Jonathan Shaw, Cymon J. Cox

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-360
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2005


  • Bryophyta
  • Chloroplast genome
  • Gene transfer
  • Phylogeny
  • rpoA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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