Fang, Y., Qin, X., Liao, Q., Du, R., Luo, X., Zhou, Q., … Yan, J. (2022). The genome of homosporous maidenhair fern sheds light on the euphyllophyte evolution and defences. Nature Plants. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41477-022-01222-x
Euphyllophytes encompass almost all extant plants, including two sister clades, ferns and seed plants. Decoding genomes of ferns is the key to deep insight into the origin of euphyllophytes and the evolution of seed plants. Here we report a chromosome-level genome assembly of Adiantum capillus-veneris L., a model homosporous fern. This fern genome comprises 30 pseudochromosomes with a size of 4.8-gigabase and a contig N50 length of 16.22 Mb. Gene co-expression network analysis uncovered that homospore development in ferns has relatively high genetic similarities with that of the pollen in seed plants. Analysing fern defence response expands understanding of evolution and diversity in endogenous bioactive jasmonates in plants. Moreover, comparing fern genomes with those of other land plants reveals changes in gene families important for the evolutionary novelties within the euphyllophyte clade. These results lay a foundation for studies on fern genome evolution and function, as well as the origin and evolution of euphyllophytes.