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Green algae -- the nexus of plant/animal ancestry
Date:10/11/2007

at insights from the genome analysis have come in the area of photosynthesis, the process of the chloroplast by which plants convert carbon dioxide, water and the energy of sunlight into oxygen and sugars. In a comparative genomic analysis, the scientists identified protein families that are shared by Chlamy, flowering plants, other algae, but are not present in nonphotosynthetic organisms. This exercise led them to identify photosynthesis-related proteins conserved across the plant kingdom, with many even conserved in the ancient cyanobacteria. (Cyanobacteria have been on the planet for ~3 billion years.) The majority of the identified proteins have unknown functions, but are probably critical since they have been exclusively maintained in photosynthetic organisms over nearly the entire period that life has inhabited the Earth.

As Grossman states, The work has generated a clear roadmap for exploring the roles of numerous genes in photosynthetic function, for defining the structure and dynamic aspects of flagellar function and for understanding how the soil environment, with its large fluctuations in nutrients, has molded the functionality of organisms through evolutionary time.


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Contact: Arthur Grossman
Arthurg@stanford.edu
650-325-1521 x212
Carnegie Institution
Source:Eurekalert

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