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Trends Plant Sci. 2017 Aug;22(8):726-738. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2017.05.005. Epub 2017 Jun 10.

The Algal Revolution.

Author information

1
Natural History Museum, Department of Life Sciences, London SW7 5BD, UK.
2
Institute for Molecular Bioscience, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia.
3
Research Group Phycology, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281, S8, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.
4
CNRS, Sorbonne Université, UPMC University Paris 06, Algal Genetics Group, UMR 8227, Integrative Biology of Marine Models, Station Biologique de Roscoff, CS 90074, Roscoff F-29688, France.
5
Scottish Association for Marine Science, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, PA37 1QA, UK.
6
Department of Plant Biology, The Carnegie Institution, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.
7
School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, NR4 7TJ, UK.
8
Permanent address: Division of Plant Sciences, University of Dundee at the James Hutton Institute, Dundee DD2 5DA, UK; School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.
9
Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB2 3EA, UK.
10
Department of Biological Sciences, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Korea.
11
Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901, USA. Electronic address: d.bhattacharya@rutgers.edu.

Abstract

Algae are (mostly) photosynthetic eukaryotes that occupy multiple branches of the tree of life, and are vital for planet function and health. In this review, we highlight a transformative period in studies of the evolution and functioning of this extraordinary group of organisms and their potential for novel applications, wrought by high-throughput 'omic' and reverse genetic methods. We cover the origin and diversification of algal groups, explore advances in understanding the link between phenotype and genotype, consider algal sex determination, and review progress in understanding the roots of algal multicellularity. Experimental evolution studies to determine how algae evolve in changing environments are highlighted, as is their potential as production platforms for compounds of commercial interest, such as biofuel precursors, nutraceuticals, or therapeutics.

KEYWORDS:

Archaeplastida; genomics; origin of multicellularity; plastid endosymbiosis; systems biology

PMID:
28610890
DOI:
10.1016/j.tplants.2017.05.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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