Cyanophora paradoxa genome elucidates origin of photosynthesis in algae and plants

Science. 2012 Feb 17;335(6070):843-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1213561.


The primary endosymbiotic origin of the plastid in eukaryotes more than 1 billion years ago led to the evolution of algae and plants. We analyzed draft genome and transcriptome data from the basally diverging alga Cyanophora paradoxa and provide evidence for a single origin of the primary plastid in the eukaryote supergroup Plantae. C. paradoxa retains ancestral features of starch biosynthesis, fermentation, and plastid protein translocation common to plants and algae but lacks typical eukaryotic light-harvesting complex proteins. Traces of an ancient link to parasites such as Chlamydiae were found in the genomes of C. paradoxa and other Plantae. Apparently, Chlamydia-like bacteria donated genes that allow export of photosynthate from the plastid and its polymerization into storage polysaccharide in the cytosol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Cyanobacteria / genetics
  • Cyanophora / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal
  • Genes, Bacterial
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Photosynthesis / genetics*
  • Phylogeny
  • Symbiosis

Associated data

  • GENBANK/HQ849544
  • RefSeq/NC_015117