Anthoceros genomes illuminate the origin of land plants and the unique biology of hornworts

Li, Fay Wei; Nishiyama, Tomoaki; Waller, Manuel; Frangedakis, Eftychios; Keller, Jean; Li, Zheng; Fernandez-Pozo, Noe; Barker, Michael S.; Bennett, Tom; Blázquez, Miguel A.; Cheng, Shifeng; Cuming, Andrew C.; Vries, Jan de; Vries, Sophie de; Delaux, Pierre Marc; Diop, Issa S.; Harrison, Jill C.; Hauser, Duncan; Hernández-García, Jorge; Kirbis, Alexander; Meeks, John C.; Monte, Isabel; Mutte, Sumanth K.; Neubauer, Anna; Quandt, Dietmar; Robison, Tanner; Shimamura, Masaki; Rensing, Stefan A.; Villarreal, Juan Carlos; Weijers, Dolf; Wicke, Susann; Wong, Gane K.S.; Sakakibara, Keiko; Szövényi, Péter


Hornworts comprise a bryophyte lineage that diverged from other extant land plants >400 million years ago and bears unique biological features, including a distinct sporophyte architecture, cyanobacterial symbiosis and a pyrenoid-based carbon-concentrating mechanism (CCM). Here, we provide three high-quality genomes of Anthoceros hornworts. Phylogenomic analyses place hornworts as a sister clade to liverworts plus mosses with high support. The Anthoceros genomes lack repeat-dense centromeres as well as whole-genome duplication, and contain a limited transcription factor repertoire. Several genes involved in angiosperm meristem and stomatal function are conserved in Anthoceros and upregulated during sporophyte development, suggesting possible homologies at the genetic level. We identified candidate genes involved in cyanobacterial symbiosis and found that LCIB, a Chlamydomonas CCM gene, is present in hornworts but absent in other plant lineages, implying a possible conserved role in CCM function. We anticipate that these hornwort genomes will serve as essential references for future hornwort research and comparative studies across land plants.