Get access



  • 1Received 18 August 2003. Accepted 10 September 2003.


Genomes from over 130 organisms have been either sequenced completely or are currently under investigation. These studies include a wide array of Bacteria, a smaller number of Archaea, model-system eukaryotes, parasitic protists, and even several microalgae. However, no major effort is underway to acquire a complete nuclear genome sequence from a single macroalga or seaweed despite their crucial contribution to the biodiversity and energy economy of oceans and estuaries. Here we examine various macroalgae as potential candidates for a genome project. A set of criteria is presented, followed by a brief discussion of how well different candidates from the principal macroalgae groups, green, brown, and red algae, meet these criteria. Based on our analyses, we conclude that the red seaweed, Porphyra yezoensis Ueda, should be the leading candidate for a macroalgal genomics initiative. We realize, of course, that others in the phycological community might have a different opinion and that a broad consensus among algal researchers is required to make seaweed genomics a reality; thus the primary intention of this review is to initiate and encourage further discussion as to where the phycological community should focus its genomic efforts.