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An ontogenetic framework for functional studies in the model fern Ceratopteris richardii

TitleAn ontogenetic framework for functional studies in the model fern Ceratopteris richardii
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsConway SJ, Di Stilio VS
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Start Page20
Date Published01/2020
Type of ArticleResearch

As the sister group to seed plants, ferns are a phylogenetically informative lineage. Functional studies in representatives of the fern lineage are helping bridge the knowledge gap in developmental mechanisms between angiosperms and non-vascular plants. The fern life cycle has the advantage of combining a sizable free-living haploid gametophyte, more amenable for developmental studies than the reduced seed plant gametophyte, with an indeterminate and complex diploid sporophyte. Ceratopteris richardii has long been proposed as a model fern and has recently become tractable due to stable transgenesis and increasing genomic resources, allowing researchers to test explicit questions about gene function in a fern for the first time. As with any model system, a detailed understanding of wild-type morphology and a staged ontogeny are indispensable for the characterization of mutant phenotypes resulting from genetic manipulations. Therefore, the goal of this study is to provide a unified reference ontogeny for this emerging model fern as a tool for comparative evolutionary and developmental studies. It complements earlier research by filling gaps in major stages of development of the haploid gametophyte and diploid sporophyte generations, and provides additional descriptions of the shoot apical meristem and early leaf development. This resource is meant to facilitate not only studies of candidate genes within C. richardii, but also broader ontogenetic comparisons to other model plants.

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