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Res Microbiol. 2011 Jul-Aug;162(6):570-7. doi: 10.1016/j.resmic.2011.04.005. Epub 2011 Apr 21.

Genome diversity in the smallest marine photosynthetic eukaryotes.

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UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7232, Observatoire Océanologique, Avenue du Fontaulé, BP44, 66651 Banyuls-sur-Mer, France.


Unicellular algae of the class Mamiellophyceae are widespread in our oceans and their apparent uniformity conceals an impressive array of biologically distinct species. Each of the five complete genomes analysed so far reveals densely packed coding sequences, with strong evolutionary divergence from its nearest phylogenetically defined neighbours. These species lie at the base of the green lineage, but various metabolic processes reflect their marine life-styles and distinguish them from land plants, including a high proportion of selenoprotein enzymes and C4 photosynthesis. They all possess two unusual chromosomes, with lower GC content and atypical gene content, whose function so far remains enigmatic.

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