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Keywords:

  • Chromosome;
  • dinokaryon;
  • junk DNA;
  • nucleus;
  • repeat;
  • spliced leader;
  • transposon

ABSTRACT. Dinoflagellates have among the largest nuclear genomes known, but we know little about their contents or organisation. Given the interest in dinoflagellate ecology, cell biology, and evolutionary biology, there are many reasons to thoroughly investigate the contents of dinoflagellate genomes, but because of their large size the only thorough samples to date have relied on expressed sequence tag surveys to analyse cDNAs. To complement this, there are some studies of the physical properties of dinoflagellate chromosomes, but no direct survey of the nature of the sequences contained within them. To start to build a picture of the contents of these genomes, we have sequenced over 230,000 bp from the nuclear genome of Heterocapsa triquetra, which has been estimated to be 18–23 billion base pairs in total. The survey includes one putative gene with two relict spliced leaders, one putative pseudogene, and a small number of low-complexity repeats, transposons, and other putative selfish elements, all of which account for about 5% of the survey. Another 5% of the survey was long, complex repeats, some highly represented. By far the greatest fraction of the survey (89.5%) is made up of non-repeated sequence with no similarity to any other known sequence.