Systematics, Biodiversity and Evolution of Plants

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Tuesday May 21, 2024, 1pm GMT+2


Dorrell, Richard1

 The bizarre chloroplasts of dinoflagellate algae

1. Horizontal Evolution of Algal Lifestyles (HEAL), Institut de Biologie, Paris.


"Every rule in eukaryotic cell biology is broken by dinoflagellates". But how does this maxim apply to their chloroplasts? In this short talk, I will outline work from my group over the past 15 years to explore the weirdness in dinoflagellate plastid evolution, considering their fragmented genomes, nucleus-encoded proteomes, and propensity for plastid loss and replacement via serial endosymbiosis. I will particularly discuss how Kareniaceaen dinoflagellates, which have replaced the ancestral peridinin plastid with a fucoxanthin-containing one of haptophyte origin, can act as models for how chloroplasts can and do evolve. This includes evidence for a much greater number of endosymbioses in the Kareniaceae than previously reported, with different species independently and repeatedly acquiring haptophyte chloroplasts, with different biological consequences in each case.