High Sequence Divergence but Limited Architectural Rearrangements in Organelle Genomes of Cyanophora (Glaucophyta) Species

J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2021 Jan;68(1):e12831. doi: 10.1111/jeu.12831. Epub 2020 Dec 15.


Cyanophora is the glaucophyte model taxon. Following the sequencing of the nuclear genome of C. paradoxa, studies based on single organelle and nuclear molecular markers revealed previously unrecognized species diversity within this glaucophyte genus. Here, we present the complete plastid (ptDNA) and mitochondrial (mtDNA) genomes of C. kugrensii, C. sudae, and C. biloba. The respective sizes and coding capacities of both ptDNAs and mtDNAs are conserved among Cyanophora species with only minor differences due to specific gene duplications. Organelle phylogenomic analyses consistently recover the species C. kugrensii and C. paradoxa as a clade and C. sudae and C. biloba as a separate group. The phylogenetic affiliations of the four Cyanophora species are consistent with architectural similarities shared at the organelle genomic level. Genetic distance estimations from both organelle sequences are also consistent with phylogenetic and architecture evidence. Comparative analyses confirm that the Cyanophora mitochondrial genes accumulate substitutions at 3-fold higher rates than plastid counterparts, suggesting that mtDNA markers are more appropriate to investigate glaucophyte diversity and evolutionary events that occur at a population level. The study of complete organelle genomes is becoming the standard for species delimitation and is particularly relevant to study cryptic diversity in microbial groups.

Keywords: Archaeplastida; genomic distance; glaucophytes; mitochondria; organelle genomics; plastid; substitution rates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Cyanophora / genetics*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / analysis
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Genome, Mitochondrial*
  • Genome, Plastid*


  • DNA, Mitochondrial

Associated data

  • GENBANK/MG601102
  • GENBANK/MG601103
  • GENBANK/KM198929
  • GENBANK/U30821
  • GENBANK/MT919637
  • GENBANK/MT919636
  • GENBANK/KM198930
  • GENBANK/HQ849544