When Less is More: Red Algae as Models for Studying Gene Loss and Genome Evolution in Eukaryotes
Published on Jan 2, 2018in Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 6.16
· DOI :10.1080/07352689.2018.1482364
AbstractGenome evolution is usually viewed through the lens of growth in size and complexity over time, exemplified by plants and animals. In contrast, genome reduction is associated with a narrowing of ecological potential, such as in parasites and endosymbionts. But, can nuclear genome reduction also occur in, and potentially underpin a major radiation of free-living eukaryotes? An intriguing example of this phenomenon is provided by the red algae (Rhodophyta) that have lost many conserved pathways such as for flagellar motility, macroautophagy regulation, and phytochrome based light sensing. This anciently diverged, species-rich, and ecologically important algal lineage has undergone at least two rounds of large-scale genome reduction during its >1 billion-year evolutionary history. Here, using recent analyses of genome data, we review knowledge about the evolutionary trajectory of red algal nuclear and organelle gene inventories and plastid encoded autocatalytic introns. We compare and contrast Rhodop...