, Volume 59, Issue 4, pp 464-477

Comparative Analysis of the Complete Plastid Genome Sequence of the Red Alga Gracilaria tenuistipitata var. liui Provides Insights into the Evolution of Rhodoplasts and Their Relationship to Other Plastids

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We sequenced to completion the circular plastid genome of the red alga Gracilaria tenuistipitata var. liui. This is the first plastid genome sequence from the subclass Florideophycidae (Rhodophyta). The genome is composed of 183,883 bp and contains 238 predicted genes, including a single copy of the ribosomal RNA operon. Comparisons with the plastid genome of Porphyra pupurea reveal strong conservation of gene content and order, but we found major genomic rearrangements and the presence of coding regions that are specific to Gracilaria. Phylogenetic analysis of a data set of 41 concatenated proteins from 23 plastid and two cyanobacterial genomes support red algal plastid monophyly and a specific evolutionary relationship between the Florideophycidae and the Bangiales. Gracilaria maintains a surprisingly ancient gene content in its plastid genome and, together with other Rhodophyta, contains the most complete repertoire of plastid genes known in photosynthetic eukaryotes.

[Reviewing Editor: Dr. W. Ford Doolittle]