Like animals, land plants spend part of their life as a diploid, where meiosis generates haploid spores. But, unlike animals, these spores grow into multicellular organisms before generating gametes. Thus, a single genome is responsible for generating two body plans. The aim of this proposal is to investigate the genetic and evolutionary basis of this dimorphic life cycle. The focus will be on the role of a homeodomain protein encoding gene family known to control the haploid to diploid transition in unicellular algae and fungi. The functions of the land plant genes will be investigated in the flowering plant Arabidopsis, likely to have evolved derived functions, and a liverwort Marchantia, that may retain ancestral land plant characters.