Fern Genomics

Reference nuclear genomes are now available for almost every major lineage of green plants, including over 100 angiosperm species, enabling great strides in crop improvement as well as evolutionary inference. Surprisingly, no sequenced genomes are available for any member of the fern clade, the second largest vascular plant clade after the angiosperms, and currently the only major vascular plant lineage without a reference nuclear genome sequence. There is also no genome sequence available for any homosporous vascular plant; ferns represent the largest such group. The Sessa lab is involved with efforts to change this. We have also collaborated with  Paul Wolf (Utah State University)Josh Der (California State University, Fullerton)Pam and Doug Soltis (UF) and others to explore genome space in several ferns via genome skimming.


  • Marchant DB, EB Sessa, PG Wolf, K Heo, WB Barbazuk, PS Soltis, and DE Soltis. The first homosporous fern genome and insights into plant genome evolution. In revision.
  • Sessa EB and JP Der. (2016) Evolutionary genomics of ferns and lycophytes. Pgs. 215–254 in: Genomes and Evolution of Charophytes, Bryophytes, and Ferns. SA Rensing, Ed. Advances in Botanical Research, vol. 78. Elsevier. Request PDF
  • Wolf PG, EB Sessa, DB Marchant, F-W Li, CJ Rothfels, EM Sigel, MA Gitzendanner, CJ Visger, JA Banks, DE Soltis, PS Soltis, KM Pryer, and JP Der. (2015) An exploration into fern genome space. Genome Biology and Evolution 7(9): 2533–2544. PDF
  • Sessa EB, JA Banks, MS Barker, JP Der, AM Duffy, SW Graham, M Hasebe, J Langdale, F-W Li, DB Marchant, KM Pryer, CJ Rothfels, SJ Roux, ML Salmi, EM Sigel, DE Soltis, PS Soltis, DW Stevenson, and PG Wolf. (2014) Between two fern genomes. GigaScience 3:15. PDF