The liverwort Marchantia polymorpha is receiving considerable attention due to its revival as a model species for studying plant evolution and basic cellular processes. This special focus issue presented by Bowman et al. showcases Marchantia and includes a community-led recommendation for nomenclature, reviews on its biology, life-cycle, anatomy, and available molecular-genetic tools. Also included are research papers describing new techniques in gene expression manipulation, cryopreservation, and a chloroplast genome reporter system, plus reports on membrane trafficking, male gametogenesis, and miRNA populations in Marchantia. Collectively, these papers highlight the enormous potential and usefulness of Marchantia polymorpha as an indispensible genetic resource.
The cover image illustrates sexual reproductive branches (sperm-producing antheridiophores and egg-producing archegoniophores), developing on standard laboratory-grown Marchantia polymorpha strains [front, male Takaragaike-1 (Tak-1); back, female Tak-2]. Overlaid panels display gemmae-containing cupules (asexual reproductive organs). Left, scanned original illustration featured in Mirbel, 1835; middle, photograph; right, fluorescent micrograph of proMpEF1α:Citrine transgenic plant. Photos supplied by Ryuichi Nishihama