Author's posts

May 24

The New Red Algal Subphylum Proteorhodophytina Comprises the Largest and Most Divergent Plastid Genomes Known.

Red algal plastid genomes are often considered ancestral and evolutionarily stable, and thus more closely resembling the last common ancestral plastid genome of all photosynthetic eukaryotes [1, 2]. However, sampling of red algal diversity is still quite limited (e.g., [2-5]). We aimed to remedy this problem. To this end, we sequenced six new plastid genomes …

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May 13

Lynn Margulis and the endosymbiont hypothesis: 50 years later.

The 1967 article “On the Origin of Mitosing Cells” in the Journal of Theoretical Biology by Lynn Margulis (then Lynn Sagan) is widely regarded as stimulating renewed interest in the long-dormant endosymbiont hypothesis of organelle origins. In her article, not only did Margulis champion an endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria and plastids from bacterial ancestors, but …

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May 12

Phenylpropanoid biosynthesis origins in plant algal relatives

Great lab news! Sophie DeVries, our Killam Postdoc and her partner Jan DeVries (Archibald Lab) have just published a very nice research story in Plant & Cell Physiology. The paper is entitled “How Embryophytic is the Biosynthesis of Phenylpropanoids and their Derivatives in Streptophyte Algae?”, and sheds new light on how the earliest land plants …

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May 07

Organelles that illuminate the origins of Trichomonas hydrogenosomes and Giardia mitosomes.

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May 05

The Impact of Exclusive Enteral Nutrition (EEN) on the Gut Microbiome in Crohn’s Disease: A Review.

Crohn’s disease (CD), a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), is thought to arise from a complex interaction of genetics, the gut microbiome, and environmental factors, such as diet. There is clear evidence that dietary intervention is successful in the treatment of CD-exclusive enteral nutrition (EEN) is able to induce remission in up to 80% …

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Apr 30

Mitochondrial genome evolution and a novel RNA editing system in deep-branching heteroloboseids.

Discoba (Excavata) is an evolutionarily important group of eukaryotes that includes Jakobida, with the most bacterial-like mitochondrial genomes known, and Euglenozoa, many of which have extensively fragmented mitochondrial genomes. However, little is known about the mitochondrial genomes of Heterolobosea, the third main group of Discoba. Here, we studied two heteroloboseids – an undescribed amoeba ‘BB2’ …

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Mar 26

UniEuk: Time to Speak a Common Language in Protistology!

THE bewildering organismal and functional complexity of microbial eukaryotes has long fascinated protistologists but exceeded the capacity of this research community to comprehensively study it. Lacking the critical mass for a strong scientific discipline, protistologists remain largely divided into various sub-communities (protozoology versus phycology, aquatic versus terrestrial systems, fossil versus extant organisms, etc.), many of …

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Mar 26

How Embryophytic is the Biosynthesis of Phenylpropanoids and their Derivatives in Streptophyte Algae?

The origin of land plants from algae is a long-standing question in evolutionary biology. It is becoming increasingly clear that many characters that were once assumed to be “embryophyte-specific” can in fact be found in their closest algal relatives, the streptophyte algae. One such case is the phenylpropanoid pathway. While biochemical data indicate that streptophyte …

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Mar 22

Revisiting the evolutionary history and roles of protein phosphatases with Kelch-like domains in plants.

Protein phosphatases with Kelch-like domains (PPKL) are members of the phosphoprotein phosphatases family present only in plants and alveolates. PPKL have been described as positive effectors of brassinosteroid (BR) signaling in plants. Most of the evidence supporting this role has been gathered using one of the four homologs in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana), brassinosteroid-insensitive1 suppressor (BSU1). …

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Mar 22

Morphological and molecular characterization of a new species of Stephanopogon, Stephanopogon pattersoni n. sp.

Stephanopogon is a taxon of multiciliated protists that is now known to belong to Heterolobosea. Small subunit ribosomal DNA (SSU rDNA) phylogenies indicate that Stephanopogon is closely related to or descended from Percolomonas, a small tetraflagellate with a different feeding structure, thus these morphologically dissimilar taxa are of ongoing evolutionary interest. A new strain of …

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