Nucleotide sequence data from three chloroplast genes (rbcL, rps4 and psbA), one nuclear gene (the ribosomal LSU) and one mitochondrial gene (nad5) were assembled for 173 species in 117 genera of liverworts, making this the largest molecular phylogeny of the group to date. Analyses of these data provide support for the monophyly of the liverworts, and for previously resolved backbone relationships within the Marchantiophyta. The earliest divergence involves the “simple thalloid” taxa of the Haplomitriaceae and Treubiaceae. A Blasiaceae/complex thalloid clade is resolved as sister to all remaining liverworts. The leafy liverworts do not resolve as monophyletic. The separation of the Aneuraceae/Metzgeriaceae from all other simple thalloids and their placement within the “leafy” clade as sister to the enigmatic leafy genus Pleurozia, as suggested in earlier molecular phylogenies, is also supported by this far larger data set.
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