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An optimized transformation protocol for Anthoceros agrestis and three more hornwort species.

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Frangedakis, Eftychios  ORCID logo
Sauret-Güeto, Susanna  ORCID logo
Rever, Jenna 


Land plants comprise two large monophyletic lineages, the vascular plants and the bryophytes, which diverged from their most recent common ancestor approximately 480 million years ago. Of the three lineages of bryophytes, only the mosses and the liverworts are systematically investigated, while the hornworts are understudied. Despite their importance for understanding fundamental questions of land plant evolution, they only recently became amenable to experimental investigation, with Anthoceros agrestis being developed as a hornwort model system. Availability of a high-quality genome assembly and a recently developed genetic transformation technique makes A. agrestis an attractive model species for hornworts. Here we describe an updated and optimized transformation protocol for A. agrestis, which can be successfully used to genetically modify one more strain of A. agrestis and three more hornwort species, Anthoceros punctatus, Leiosporoceros dussii, and Phaeoceros carolinianus. The new transformation method is less laborious, faster, and results in the generation of greatly increased numbers of transformants compared with the previous method. We have also developed a new selection marker for transformation. Finally, we report the development of a set of different cellular localization signal peptides for hornworts providing new tools to better understand the hornwort cell biology.


Funder: Georges and Antoine Claraz Foundation grant

Funder: University Research Priority Program “Evolution in Action” of the University of Zurich


Agrobacterium-mediated transformation, constitutive promoter, hornworts, land plant evolution, subcellular targeting, Anthocerotophyta, Phylogeny, Embryophyta, Bryophyta, Seeds

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Plant J

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Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BB/L014130/1)