Genes and genomes
Nucleomorph genomes: structure, function, origin and evolution
Article first published online: 20 MAR 2007
Copyright © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Volume 29, Issue 4, pages 392–402, April 2007
How to Cite
Archibald, J. M. (2007), Nucleomorph genomes: structure, function, origin and evolution. Bioessays, 29: 392–402. doi: 10.1002/bies.20551
- Issue published online: 20 MAR 2007
- Article first published online: 20 MAR 2007
- Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Evolutionary Biology
- Genome Atlantic
- Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
- Canadian Institutes for Health Research
- Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation
The cryptomonads and chlorarachniophytes are two unicellular algal lineages with complex cellular structures and fascinating evolutionary histories. Both groups acquired their photosynthetic abilities through the assimilation of eukaryotic endosymbionts. As a result, they possess two distinct cytosolic compartments and four genomes—two nuclear genomes, an endosymbiont-derived plastid genome and a mitochondrial genome derived from the host cell. Like mitochondrial and plastid genomes, the genome of the endosymbiont nucleus, or ‘nucleomorph’, of cryptomonad and chlorarachniophyte cells has been greatly reduced through the combined effects of gene loss and intracellular gene transfer. This article focuses on the structure, function, origin and evolution of cryptomonad and chlorarachniophyte nucleomorph genomes in light of recent comparisons of genome sequence data from both groups. It is now possible to speculate on the reasons that nucleomorphs persist in cryptomonads and chlorarachniophytes but have been lost in all other algae with plastids of secondary endosymbiotic origin. BioEssays 29:392–402, 2007. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.