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Earliest record of transfer cells in Lower Devonian plants

Edwards, Dianne ORCID:, Morris, Jennifer L. ORCID:, Axe, Lindsey, Taylor, Wilson A., Duckett, Jeffrey G., Kenrick, Paul and Pressel, Silvia 2022. Earliest record of transfer cells in Lower Devonian plants. New Phytologist 233 (3) , pp. 1456-1465. 10.1111/nph.17704

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Key sources of information on the nature of early terrestrial ecosystems are the fossilized remains of plants and associated organic encrustations, which are interpreted as either biofilms, biological soil crusts or lichens. The hypothesis that some of these encrustations might be the remains of the thalloid gametophytes of embryophytes provided the stimulus for this investigation. Fossils preserved in charcoal were extracted from Devonian Period (Lochkovian Stage, c. 410–419 Myr old) sediments at a geological site in Shropshire (UK). Scanning electron micrographs (SEMs) of the fossils were compared with new and published SEMs of extant bryophytes and tracheophytes, respectively. One specimen was further prepared and imaged by transmission electron microscopy. Fossils of thalloid morphology were composed almost entirely of cells with labyrinthine ingrowths; these also were present in fossils of axial morphology where they were associated with putative food-conducting cells. Comparison with modern embryophytes demonstrates that these distinctive cells are transfer cells (TCs). Our fossils provide by far the earliest geological evidence of TCs. They also show that some organic encrustations are the remains of thalloid land plants and that these are possibly part of the life cycle of a newly recognized group of plants called the eophytes

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Earth and Environmental Sciences
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0028-646X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 11 March 2022
Date of Acceptance: 18 August 2021
Last Modified: 14 May 2023 17:37

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