Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/26/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: No interpretative summary is required for this book chapter.
Technical Abstract: This chapter discusses the role that research involving moss model systems has advanced our knowledge of mechanisms involved in desiccation-tolerance. The chapter discusses the aspects of bryophyte biology, phenology and morphology that make mosses ideal model systems for the study of natural stress tolerance mechanisms. The majority of work in this area has been concentrated on one species of desiccation- tolerant moss, Tortula ruralis. From studies involving this species a large amount of information has been gained concerning the effects of desiccation on cellular structure, general metabolism and gene expression. Conclusions drawn from this information and comparisons with other systems both bryophyte and angiosperm have lead to a unifying theory of how plants cope with desiccation. The theory postulates that plants have evolved mechanisms of desiccation-tolerance based on two principles; protection of cells from the rigors of desiccation and the repair of desiccation induced damage. Mosses that can survive rapid desiccation rely more on repair mechanisms. The chapter also details how work with mosses has lead to new concepts of how plants respond to stress at the level of gene expression.