Phylogenetically, the lycophytes sit between the bryophytes and the euphyllophytes, which include the ferns, gymnosperms and flowering plants. As such, lycophytes are key to understanding how major innovations evolved in order for plants to survive and thrive on land. These innovations include vascular tissue, leaves, stems, and lignification, traits that are important both in agriculture and biofuel production.
The spikemoss Selaginella moellendorffii has a genome size of only ~100Mbp, which is the smallest genome size of any plant reported. The sequence of the Selaginella genome by JGI provides scientists an important reference genome necessary for deciphering the evolution of biochemical, physiological and developmental processes unique to land plants.