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To discover mechanisms that controlled the growth of the rooting system in the earliest land plants, we identified genes that control the development of rhizoids in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha. 336,000 T-DNA transformed lines were screened for mutants with defects in rhizoid growth, and a de novo genome assembly was generated to identify the mutant genes. We report the identification of 33 genes required for rhizoid growth, of which 6 had not previously been functionally characterized in green plants. We demonstrate that members of the same orthogroup are active in cell wall synthesis, cell wall integrity sensing, and vesicle trafficking during M. polymorpha rhizoid and Arabidopsis thaliana root hair growth. This indicates that the mechanism for constructing the cell surface of tip-growing rooting cells is conserved among land plants and was active in the earliest land plants that existed sometime more than 470 million years ago [1, 2].

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Biol

Publication Date





3238 - 3244


Marchantia polymorpha, cell growth, rhizoid, root hair, tip growth, Arabidopsis, Arabidopsis Proteins, Biological Evolution, Conserved Sequence, DNA, Plant, Gene Expression Regulation, Plant, Marchantia, Phylogeny, Plant Roots