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Applications of next-generation sequencing to unravelling the evolutionary history of algae.

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Applications of next-generation sequencing to unravelling the evolutionary history of algae.

Int J Syst Evol Microbiol. 2014 Feb;64(Pt 2):333-45

Authors: Kim KM, Park JH, Bhattacharya D, Yoon HS

First-generation Sanger DNA sequencing revolutionized science over the past three decades and the current next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology has opened the doors to the next phase in the sequencing revolution. Using NGS, scientists are able to sequence entire genomes and to generate extensive transcriptome data from diverse photosynthetic eukaryotes in a timely and cost-effective manner. Genome data in particular shed light on the complicated evolutionary history of algae that form the basis of the food chain in many environments. In the Eukaryotic Tree of Life, the fact that photosynthetic lineages are positioned in four supergroups has important evolutionary consequences. We now know that the story of eukaryotic photosynthesis unfolds with a primary endosymbiosis between an ancestral heterotrophic protist and a captured cyanobacterium that gave rise to the glaucophytes, red algae and Viridiplantae (green algae and land plants). These primary plastids were then transferred to other eukaryotic groups through secondary endosymbiosis. A red alga was captured by the ancestor(s) of the stramenopiles, alveolates (dinoflagellates, apicomplexa, chromeridae), cryptophytes and haptophytes, whereas green algae were captured independently by the common ancestors of the euglenophytes and chlorarachniophytes. A separate case of primary endosymbiosis is found in the filose amoeba Paulinella chromatophora, which has at least nine heterotrophic sister species. Paulinella genome data provide detailed insights into the early stages of plastid establishment. Therefore, genome data produced by NGS have provided many novel insights into the taxonomy, phylogeny and evolutionary history of photosynthetic eukaryotes.

PMID: 24505071 [PubMed – in process]