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Development and physiology of the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus: two centuries of research

Authors

  • Bénédicte Charrier,

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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  • Susana M. Coelho,

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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  • Aude Le Bail,

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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  • Thierry Tonon,

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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  • Gurvan Michel,

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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  • Philippe Potin,

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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  • Bernard Kloareg,

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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  • Catherine Boyen,

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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  • Akira F. Peters,

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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  • J. Mark Cock

    1. UMR7139, Station Biologique, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Université Pierre & Marie Curie Paris VI, Place Georges Teissier, 29 682 Roscoff cedex, France
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Author for correspondence:Bénédicte CharrierTel: +33 2 98 29 23 62Fax: +33 2 98 29 23 24Email: charrier@sb-roscoff.fr

Abstract

Contents

 Summary319
I.Introduction320
II.Diversity and taxonomy, distribution and ecology321
III.Development321
IV.Metabolism326
V.Interactions with the environment327
VI.Conclusion328
 Acknowledgements329
 References329

Summary

Brown algae share several important features with land plants, such as their photoautotrophic nature and their cellulose-containing wall, but the two groups are distantly related from an evolutionary point of view. The heterokont phylum, to which the brown algae belong, is a eukaryotic crown group that is phylogenetically distinct not only from the green lineage, but also from the red algae and the opisthokont phylum (fungi and animals). As a result of this independent evolutionary history, the brown algae exhibit many novel features and, moreover, have evolved complex multicellular development independently of the other major groups already mentioned. In 2004, a consortium of laboratories, including the Station Biologique in Roscoff and Genoscope, initiated a project to sequence the genome of Ectocarpus siliculosus, a small filamentous brown alga that is found in temperate, coastal environments throughout the globe. The E. siliculosus genome, which is currently being annotated, is expected to be the first completely characterized genome of a multicellular alga. In this review we look back over two centuries of work on this brown alga and highlight the advances that have led to the choice of E. siliculosus as a genomic and genetic model organism for the brown algae.

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