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Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) has become widely used as a method to compare gene transcript levels across different conditions. However, selection of suitable reference genes to normalize qPCR data is required for accurate transcript level analysis. Recently, Marchantia polymorpha has been adopted as a model for the study of liverwort development and land plant evolution. Identification of appropriate reference genes has therefore become a necessity for gene expression studies. In this study, transcript levels of eleven candidate reference genes have been analyzed across a range of biological contexts that encompass abiotic stress, hormone treatment and different developmental stages. The consistency of transcript levels was assessed using both geNorm and NormFinder algorithms, and a consensus ranking of the different candidate genes was then obtained. MpAPT and MpACT showed relatively constant transcript levels across all conditions tested whereas the transcript levels of other candidate genes were clearly influenced by experimental conditions. By analyzing transcript levels of phosphate and nitrate starvation reporter genes, we confirmed that MpAPT and MpACT are suitable reference genes in M. polymorpha and also demonstrated that normalization with an inappropriate gene can lead to erroneous analysis of qPCR data.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Genes, Plant, Hormones, Marchantia, Nitrates, Phosphates, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction, Reference Standards, Stress, Physiological