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Priority Programme "MAdLand - Molecular Adaptation to Land: Plant Evolution to Change" (SPP 2237)
bis 11.11.2019
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
One of the most remarkable challenges mastered by plants was the water-to-land-transition (plant terrestrialisation) that occurred some 500 million years ago. This change in habitat inevitably required molecular adaptations to cope with an array of new stresses. Plant terrestrialisation also caused a dramatic change through the transformation of Earth's atmosphere and soil cover, priming Earth for life as we know it.
The Phragmoplastophyta comprise three lineages of streptophyte (charophyte) algae as well as the land plants (Embryophyta). Evolving from the streptophyte lineage, the earliest land plants made use of fungal symbioses to gain access to inorganic nutrients, thought to have been instrumental for the habitat transition of plant life. Initially morphologically primitive plants evolved a complexity that allowed them to conquer ever more habitats.
Due to the drastic habitat change during the conquest of land, inference of molecular adaptations underlying the process of terrestrialisation promises a significant gain of knowledge. This is of special interest both in order to understand plant evolution and adaptation to environmental changes, and for the transfer of such knowledge to other disciplines. By a novel comparative and functional evolutionary approach, encompassing charophyte algae and non-seed plants as models, this Priority Programme will study the genetic mechanisms underpinning the dramatic environmental adaptation to conditions on land and the evolution of plant complexity. Research in the Priority Programme will unravel the genetic mechanisms underlying adaptive evolution of plant morphology, physiology, biochemistry, cell biology and biotic interactions, and it will identify the ancestry of processes from which the diversity of seed plants evolved.
Projects to be funded within this programme will address outstanding questions of early land plant terrestrialisation and evolution:
o Which features enabling conquest of land evolved in charophyte freshwater algae?
o What is the succession and nature of molecular adaptations in early land plant evolution?
o How did embryogenesis and the alternation of generations evolve?
o How did organismic interaction of plants with fungi and bacteria evolve?
o What are the molecular evolutionary drivers of tolerance to abiotic and biotic stresses?
Please clearly indicate in your proposal to which of these research area(s) it will contribute. Ideally, more than one of the above-mentioned research directions are covered.
MAdLand will make use of a broad suite of biological methods and cross-discipline knowledge, ranging from phylogenetic, molecular, physiological, genetic and cell biological approaches to the study of organismic interaction and biodiversity. To maximise the potential for synergies and cross-referencing of data, the following model organisms will be employed in this Priority Programme:
o One organism each from Charophyceae and Zygnematophyceae
o Anthoceros agrestis (hornwort)
o Marchantia polymorpha (liverwort)
o Physcomitrella patens (moss)
o Ceratopteris richardii and Azolla filiculoides (ferns)
Further information: