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The Charophyceae are the green algae closest to plants.
Many of the complex plant traits related to sexual reproduction evolved first in charophyceans.[source?] Analysis of cpDNA (chloroplast DNA) shows that characteristics of plant chloroplasts also evolved first in the charophyceans, before the Zygnematales diverged from the lineage that lead to Coleochaetales, Charales, and the land plants.
Groups generally included within the Charophyceae are:
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- Guiry M.D. & Guiry G.M. 2007. AlgaeBase. World-wide electronic publication, National University of Ireland, Galway. AlgaeBase.org searched on 13 December 2007
- Hoek C. van den, Mann D.G. & Jahns H. M. 1995. Algae: an introduction to phycology Cambridge University Press, Cambridge. ISBN 0-521-30419-9
- McCourt R.M; Chapman R.L; Buchheim M. & Mishler B.D. “Green plants” Accessed 13 December 2007
- Delwiche C.F. “Charophycean green algae”. Accessed 13 December 2007
- Turmel M; Otis C. & Lemieux C. 2005. The complete chloroplast DNA sequences of the Charophycean green algae Staurastrum and Zygnema reveal that the chloroplast genome underwent extensive changes during the evolution of the Zygnematales. BMC Biology 3:22