The Complete Chloroplast and Mitochondrial DNA Sequence of Ostreococcus Tauri: Organelle Genomes of the Smallest Eukaryote Are Examples of Compaction

Mol Biol Evol. 2007 Apr;24(4):956-68. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msm012. Epub 2007 Jan 23.


The complete nucleotide sequence of the mt (mitochondrial) and cp (chloroplast) genomes of the unicellular green alga Ostreococcus tauri has been determined. The mt genome assembles as a circle of 44,237 bp and contains 65 genes. With an overall average length of only 42 bp for the intergenic regions, this is the most gene-dense mt genome of all Chlorophyta. Furthermore, it is characterized by a unique segmental duplication, encompassing 22 genes and covering 44% of the genome. Such a duplication has not been observed before in green algae, although it is also present in the mt genomes of higher plants. The quadripartite cp genome forms a circle of 71,666 bp, containing 86 genes divided over a larger and a smaller single-copy region, separated by 2 inverted repeat sequences. Based on genome size and number of genes, the Ostreococcus cp genome is the smallest known among the green algae. Phylogenetic analyses based on a concatenated alignment of cp, mt, and nuclear genes confirm the position of O. tauri within the Prasinophyceae, an early branch of the Chlorophyta.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chlorophyta / genetics*
  • DNA, Algal / chemistry
  • DNA, Algal / genetics
  • DNA, Chloroplast / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Eukaryotic Cells / metabolism*
  • Gene Order
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phylogeny
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Algal
  • DNA, Chloroplast
  • DNA, Mitochondrial