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
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
of desiccation tolerance in land plants, and (ii)
vegetative desiccation tolerance in the early land plants may have
from a mechanism present first in spores.