Evolution of Complex Thallus Alga: Genome Sequencing of Saccharina japonica

Front Genet. 2019 May 2;10:378. doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00378. eCollection 2019.


Saccharina, as one of the most important brown algae (Phaeophyceae) with multicellular thallus, has a very remarkable evolutionary history, and globally accounts for most of the economic marine aquaculture production worldwide. Here, we present the 580.5 million base pairs of genome sequence of Saccharina japonica, whose current assembly contains 35,725 protein-coding genes. In a comparative analysis with Ectocarpus siliculosus, the integrated virus sequence suggested the genome evolutionary footprints, which derived from their co-ancestry and experienced genomic arrangements. Furthermore, the gene expansion was found to be an important strategy for functional evolution, especially with regard to extracelluar components, stress-related genes, and vanadium-dependent haloperoxidases, and we proposed a hypothesis that gene duplication events were the main driving force for the evolution history from multicellular filamentous algae to thallus algae. The sequenced Saccharina genome paves the way for further molecular studies and is useful for genome-assisted breeding of S. japonica and other related algae species.

Keywords: Saccharina japonica; extracellular components; genome sequencing; halogen biosynthesis; phylogenetic analysis; virus genome.