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Trends Ecol Evol. 2004 Jan;19(1):32-8.

Genome diversity in microbial eukaryotes.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Smith College, Northampton, MA 01063, USA.


The genomic peculiarities among microbial eukaryotes challenge the conventional wisdom of genome evolution. Currently, many studies and textbooks explore principles of genome evolution from a limited number of eukaryotic lineages, focusing often on only a few representative species of plants, animals and fungi. Increasing emphasis on studies of genomes in microbial eukaryotes has and will continue to uncover features that are either not present in the representative species (e.g. hypervariable karyotypes or highly fragmented mitochondrial genomes) or are exaggerated in microbial groups (e.g. chromosomal processing between germline and somatic nuclei). Data for microbial eukaryotes have emerged from recent genome sequencing projects, enabling comparisons of the genomes from diverse lineages across the eukaryotic phylogenetic tree. Some of these features, including amplified rDNAs, subtelomeric rDNAs and reduced genomes, appear to have evolved multiple times within eukaryotes, whereas other features, such as absolute strand polarity, are found only within single lineages.


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