Genomics of Volvocine Algae

Adv Bot Res. 2012;64:185-243. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-391499-6.00006-2.


Volvocine algae are a group of chlorophytes that together comprise a unique model for evolutionary and developmental biology. The species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Volvox carteri represent extremes in morphological diversity within the Volvocine clade. Chlamydomonas is unicellular and reflects the ancestral state of the group, while Volvox is multicellular and has evolved numerous innovations including germ-soma differentiation, sexual dimorphism, and complex morphogenetic patterning. The Chlamydomonas genome sequence has shed light on several areas of eukaryotic cell biology, metabolism and evolution, while the Volvox genome sequence has enabled a comparison with Chlamydomonas that reveals some of the underlying changes that enabled its transition to multicellularity, but also underscores the subtlety of this transition. Many of the tools and resources are in place to further develop Volvocine algae as a model for evolutionary genomics.