Chapter

Red Algae in the Genomic Age

Volume 13 of the series Cellular Origin, Life in Extreme Habitats and Astrobiology pp 129-148

Date:

Porphyra: Complex Life Histories in a Harsh Environment: P. umbilicalis, an Intertidal Red Alga for Genomic Analysis

  • Elisabeth GanttAffiliated withDepartment of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland Email author 
  • , G. Mine BergAffiliated withDepartment of Geophysics, Stanford University
  • , Debashish BhattacharyaAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Rutgers University
  • , Nicolas A. BlouinAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Sciences, University of Maine
  • , Juliet A. BrodieAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, The Natural History Museum
  • , Cheong Xin ChanAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Rutgers University
  • , Jonas CollénAffiliated withCNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Station Biologique
  • , Francis X. CunninghamJrAffiliated withDepartment of Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics, University of Maryland
  • , Jeferson GrossAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology, Evolution and Natural Resources, Rutgers University
    • , Arthur R. GrossmanAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Biology, The Carnegie Institution
    • , Steven KarpowiczAffiliated withDepartment of Chemistry, University of California
    • , Yukihiro KitadeAffiliated withAlgal Genetics and Chemistry, Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University
    • , Anita S. KleinAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of New Hampshire
    • , Ira A. LevineAffiliated withNatural and Applied Sciences, University of Southern Maine
    • , Senjie LinAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut
    • , Shan LuAffiliated withSchool of Life Sciences, Nanjing University
    • , Michael LynchAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Waterloo
    • , Subhash C. MinochaAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of New Hampshire
    • , Kirsten MüllerAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, University of Waterloo
    • , Christopher D. NeefusAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of New Hampshire
    • , Mariana Cabral de OliveiraAffiliated withDepartment of Botany, Biosciences Institute, University of São Paulo
    • , Linda RymarquisAffiliated withBiotechnology Institute, University of Delaware
    • , Alison SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Plant Sciences, University Cambridge
    • , John W. StillerAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, East Carolina University
    • , Wen-Kai WuAffiliated withCollege of Fisheries and Life Science, Shanghai Ocean University
    • , Charles YarishAffiliated withDepartment of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut
    • , Yun ZhuangAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Sciences, University of Connecticut
    • , Susan H. BrawleyAffiliated withDepartment of Marine Sciences, University of Maine

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Abstract

Porphyra encompasses a large group of multicellular red algae that have a prominent gametophytic phase. The complex, heteromorphic life history of species in this genus, their remarkable resilience to high light and desiccation, ancient fossil records, and value as human food (e.g., laver, nori), make Porphyra a compelling model for genome sequencing. Sequencing of the nuclear genome of Porphyra umbilicalis from the northwestern Atlantic is currently in process. The ∼270 Mb genome of this alga is much larger than that of the unicellular acidophilic Cyanidioschyzon merolae (16.5 Mb), the only rhodophyte for which there is a fully sequenced genome, and is approximately twice as large as the Arabidopsis genome. Future analyses of the P. umbilicalis genome should provide opportunities for researchers to (1) develop an increased understanding of the ways in which these algae have adapted to severe physiological stresses, (2) elucidate the molecular features of development through the complex life history, and (3) define key components required for the transition of growth from a single cell to a multicellular organism.

Keywords

Antioxidant aquaculture carotenoid cell motility cell walls chloroplast Cyanidioschyzon merolae genome evolution intertidal microRNAs mutants nitrogen sources nitrogen nori P. yezoensis P. umbilicalis Porphyra spores transposable elements vitamin B12