Having diverged from the lineage that lead to flowering plants shortly after plants have established on land, mosses, which share fundamental processes with flowering plants but underwent little morphological changes by comparison with the fossil records, can be considered as an evolutionary informative place. Hence, they are especially useful for the study of developmental evolution and adaption to life on land. The transition to land exposed early plants to harsh physical conditions that resulted in key physiological and developmental changes. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are an important class of small RNAs (sRNAs) that act as master regulators of development and stress in flowering plants. In recent years several groups have been engaged in the cloning of sRNAs from the model moss Physcomitrella patens. These studies have revealed a wealth of miRNAs, including novel and conserved ones, creating a unique opportunity to broaden our understanding of miRNA functions in land plants and their contribution to the latter’s evolution. Here we review the current knowledge of moss miRNAs and suggest approaches for their functional analysis in P. patens.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 4, 2011
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