Green evolution and dynamic adaptations revealed by genomes of the marine picoeukaryotes micromonas

Alexandra Z. Worden, Jae Hyeok Lee, Thomas Mock, Pierre Rouzé, Melinda P. Simmons, Andrea L. Aerts, Andrew E. Allen, Marie L. Cuvelier, Evelyne Derelle, Meredith V. Everett, Elodie Foulon, Jane Grimwood, Heidrun Gundlach, Bernard Henrissat, Carolyn Napoli, Sarah M. McDonald, Micaela S. Parker, Stephane Rombauts, Aasf Salamov, Peter Von DassowJonathan H. Badger, Pedro M. Coutinho, Elif Demir, Inna Dubchak, Chelle Gentemann, Wenche Eikrem, Jill E. Gready, Uwe John, William Lanier, Erika A. Lindquist, Susan Lucas, Klaus F.X. Mayer, Herve Moreau, Fabrice Not, Robert Otillar, Olivier Panaud, Jasmyn Pangilinan, Ian Paulsen, Benoit Piegu, Aaron Poliakov, Steven Robbens, Jeremy Schmutz, Eve Toulza, Tania Wyss, Alexander Zelensky, Kemin Zhou, E. Virginia Armbrust, Debashish Bhattacharya, Ursula W. Goodenough, Yves Van De Peer, Igor V. Grigoriev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

519 Scopus citations


Picoeukaryotes are a taxonomically diverse group of organism less than 2 micrometers in diameter. Photosynthetic marine picoeukaryotes in the genus Micromonas thrive in ecosystems ranging from tropical to polar and could serve as sentinel organisms for biogeochemical fluxes of modern oceans during climate change. These broadly distributed primary producers belong to an anciently diverged sister clade to land plants. Although Micromonas isolates have high 18S ribosomal RNA gene identity, we found that genomes from two isolates shared only 90% of their predicted genes. Their independent evolutionary paths were emphasized by distinct riboswitch arrangements as well as the discovery of intronic repeat elements in one isolate, and in metagenomic data, but not in other genomes. Divergence appears to have been facilitated by selection and acquisition processes that actively shape the repertoire of genes that are mutually exclusive between the two isolates differently than the core genes. Analyses of the Micromonas genomes offer valuable insights into ecological differentiation and the dynamic nature of early plant evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-272
Number of pages5
Issue number5924
StatePublished - 10 Apr 2009
Externally publishedYes


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