Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dessication tolerance

I really like the way that Google helps you to find anything even if you are spectacularly uninspired in finding the right search terms. It took only a single search on 'dry moss' to find I should have been searching on 'dessication tolerance in bryophytes'. Click over to Google Scholar and within 10 seconds of starting the search I've found an interesting, and relatively recent, paper: Desiccation Tolerance in Bryophytes: A Reflection of the Primitive Strategy for Plant Survival in Dehydrating Habitats?
We postulate that desiccation tolerance is a primitive trait, thus mechanisms by which the first land plants achieved tolerance may be reflected in how extant desiccation-tolerant bryophytes survive drying. Evidence is consistent with extant bryophytes employing a tolerance strategy of constitutive cellular protection coupled with induction of a recovery/repair mechanism upon rehydration. 
...
A new phylogenetic analysis suggests that: (i) the basic mechanisms of tolerance seen in modern day bryophytes have changed little from the earliest manifestations of desiccation tolerance in land plants, and (ii) vegetative desiccation tolerance in the early land plants may have evolved from a mechanism present first in spores.

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