The horizontal transfer of functional nuclear genes, coding for both chloroplast proteins and chlorophyll synthesis, from the food alga Vaucheria litorea to the sea slug Elysia chlorotica has been demonstrated by pharmacological, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), real time PCR (qRT-PCR), and transcriptome sequencing experiments. However, partial genomic sequencing of E. chlorotica larvae failed to find evidence for gene transfer. Here, we have used fluorescent in situ hybridization to localize an algal nuclear gene, prk, found in both larval and adult slug DNA by PCR and in adult RNA by transcriptome sequencing and RT-PCR. The prk probe hybridized with a metaphase chromosome in slug larvae, confirming gene transfer between alga and slug.
© 2014 Marine Biological Laboratory.