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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2001 Oct;58(11):1666-73.

Molecular insights into the novel aspects of diatom biology.

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Laboratory of Molecular Plant Biology, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, Naples, Italy.


Diatoms are unicellular photosynthetic eukaryotes that are thought to contribute as much as 25% of global primary productivity. In spite of their ecological importance in the worlds oceans, very little information is available at the molecular level about the novel aspects of their biology. Recent advances, such as the development of gene transfer protocols, are now allowing the genetic dissection of diatom biology. Notable examples are advances in understanding the genetic basis for the silica-based bioinorganic pattern formation of their cell walls and for elucidating key aspects of diatom ecophysiology. The potentiation of current research will allow an evaluation of the use of diatoms to construct submicrometre-scale silicon structures for the nanotechnology industry and will reveal the molecular secrets underlying their ecological success.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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