Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biological Sciences

Committee Chair

Paul Wolf

Committee Member

Alex Harkess

Committee Member

Jerome Baudry


Plants--Reproduction, Genomics, Plants--Phylogeny


Green plants, ubiquitous and essential in the biosphere, have two reproductive life cycles: heterosporous and homosporous. Heterosporous plants are generally seen more often in daily life and tend to be the source of staple foods. Heterosporous reproduction has evolved at least 11 times from ancestral homosporous lineages. Heterospory, presumed to have selective advantages, has a perplexing correlation with chromosome numbers. Here I have used novel data, tools, and methodology to discover 19, so far unknown, gene families, with the potential to explain the correlation between the reproductive life cycle in green plants and chromosome numbers. The discovery of these gene families provides a potential avenue for gain-of-function functional genomics research. Such studies could provide further insights that could help explain the evolution of traits in green plants, which are a crucial part of the surrounding ecosystems.



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