Evolutionary relationships of mosses are still poorly understood, with family, order, and subclass circumscription and relationships remaining especially obscure. Over the past decade, a considerable body of data has accumulated, including information on morphological, developmental, anatomical, and ultrastructural characteristics, as well as nucleotide sequences for a number of nuclear and plastid genes. We have combined data from these different sources to provide an overview of the relationships of the major lineages of mosses. We analyzed a data set that includes 33 moss species and ten outgroup taxa drawn from the liverworts, hornworts, and vascular plants. Molecular data consisted of nucleotide sequences from four DNA regions, (rbcL, trnL-trnF, rps4 and 18S). Morphological data included 41 characters of which many were derived from published anatomical and ultra-structural studies. Combining morphological and molecular data in the analyses showed that mosses, including Sphagnum, Takakia, Andreaea and Andreaeobryum, form a monophyletic group, provided improved resolution of higher level relationships, and further insight into evolutionary patterns in morphology.
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Vol. 103 • No. 2