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Tiny algae shed light on photosynthesis as a dynamic property
Date:11/28/2012

genomes derived from the two eukaryotes that merged over time. Approximately 50 percent of the genes in both genomes are 'unique' with no obvious counterpart in other organisms," he added. "This indicates just how different they are from characterized species."

DOE JGI Fungal Genomics Program head Igor Grigoriev called B. natans and G. theta "living fossils" because of the remnant nucleomorph. He added that algae are relevant to the Department of Energy Office of Science research portfolio for their potential applications in the fields of bioenergy and environment, noting that the DOE JGI has published over 75 percent of the publicly available algal genomes. "Iterations of endosymbiosis have led to a global diversity of these primary producers. Sequencing these two algae, the first cryptophyte and the first chlorarachniophyte sequenced, helped us to fill in the gaps in the Eukaryotic Tree of Life, and obtain additional references for better understanding of eukaryotic evolution."

Archibald said that "G. theta and B. natans both possess a surprisingly complex suite of enzymes involved in carbon metabolism, and thus represent a useful resource for scientists engaged in both basic and applied research, including photosynthesis, sub-cellular trafficking and biofuels development."

The DOE JGI sequenced the genomes of B. natans (95 million nucleotides or bases: Mb) and G. theta (87 Mb) from single cell isolates provided by Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences as part of the 2007 Community Sequencing Program portfolio. In addition, the transcriptomes were sequenced separately by the National Center for Genome Resources in New Mexico. Among the team's findings is an answer to the question of why nucleomorphs still exist.

"The reason for the persistence of nucleomorphs in both organisms appears to be surprisingly simple: they are no longer able to transfer their DNA to the host cell nucleus by the
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Contact: David Gilbert
degilbert@lbl.gov
925-296-5643
DOE/Joint Genome Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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