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Title: Large-Scale Phylogenomic Analyses Reveal the Monophyly of Bryophytes and Neoproterozoic Origin of Land Plants
Abstract The relationships among the four major embryophyte lineages (mosses, liverworts, hornworts, vascular plants) and the timing of the origin of land plants are enigmatic problems in plant evolution. Here, we resolve the monophyly of bryophytes by improving taxon sampling of hornworts and eliminating the effect of synonymous substitutions. We then estimate the divergence time of crown embryophytes based on three fossil calibration strategies, and reveal that maximum calibration constraints have a major effect on estimating the time of origin of land plants. Moreover, comparison of priors and posteriors provides a guide for evaluating the optimal calibration strategy. By considering the reliability of fossil calibrations and the influences of molecular data, we estimate that land plants originated in the Precambrian (980–682 Ma), much older than widely recognized. Our study highlights the important contribution of molecular data when faced with contentious fossil evidence, and that fossil calibrations used in estimating the timescale of plant evolution require critical scrutiny.
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Battistuzzi, Fabia Ursula
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Molecular Biology and Evolution
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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