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Marchantia polymorpha
The liverworts (or Marchantiophyta) are descendants of the earliest terrestrial plants. The group is characterised by morphological simplicity, and this seems to be matched by simple underlying genome structures. Liverworts show promise as new experimental systems after recent developments in transformation methods and genome characterisation.
See a description of the Marchantia system.
Left: One week old sporeling of Marchantia polymorpha germinated on sterile agar medium.

Our website* provides a forum for scientific exchange about the liverwort species Marchantia polymorpha, with a library of relevant PDFs and links to interested laboratories. The liverworts are among the most primitive plant forms, and provide new opportunities for studies of plant biology. Their small size, rapid growth, simple genetic architectures and easy transformability make them a promising new model system for developmental and synthetic biology. (currently offline for relaunch)
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Grid-based propagation and patterning of bacterial cells
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Marchantia polymorpha, a simple lower plant system
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Marchantia gemma as a chassis for synthetic biology
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Crossing and harvesting spores from Marchantia
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Chloroplast engineering
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Experimental systems for Synthetic Biology
We use a range of biological systems for Synthetic Biology experiments in the lab. Microbial systems, including Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis allow simple and fast assembly of genetic circuits, and testing of methods for cell-cell communication. Our main interest is in building systems to manipulate morphogenesis in plants, and we work with multicellular systems including algae and lower plants.
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Software modeling and design of genetic systems
Engineered biological systems are comprised of tightly linked genetic, cellular and biophysical systems. "Life-like" behaviours arise as emergent properties of these interactions. Software models are required to capture the complex dynamics that can arise from simple interactions. CellModeller is a package that has been developed in Cambridge to model plant growth.
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Assembly of genetic circuits
New DNA assembly techniques are allowing ever larger scale Synthetic Biology experiments to be tackled. Novel BioBricks and methods for implementation of circuits in plants are described.
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Microscopy and optical analysis techniques
Microscopy and optical probes are routinely used for non-invasive monitoring of engineered biological systems. This section of the site describes some of the tools and approaches that we have developed for work in microbes and plants.