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Tracing Patterns of Chloroplast Evolution in Euglenoids: Contributions from Colacium vesiculosum and Strombomonas acuminata (Euglenophyta)



R.E. Triemer, Michigan State University, Department of Plant Biology, 612 Wilson Road, East Lansing, Michigan 48824

Telephone number: 517 355 4680; FAX number: 517 353 1926; e-mail:


The chloroplast genomes of two photosynthetic euglenoids, Colacium vesiculosum Ehrenberg (128,889 bp), and Strombomonas acuminata (Schmarda) Deflandre (144,167 bp) have been sequenced. These chloroplast genomes in combination with those of Euglena gracilis, Eutreptia viridis, and Eutreptiella gymnastica provide a snapshot of euglenoid chloroplast evolution allowing comparisons of gene content, arrangement, and expansion. The gene content of the five chloroplast genomes is very similar varying only in the presence or absence of, rrn5, roaA, psaI, psaM, rpoA, and two tRNAs. Large gene rearrangements have occurred within the C. vesiculosum and S. acuminata chloroplast genomes. Most of these rearrangements represent repositioning of entire operons rather than single genes. When compared with previously sequenced genomes, C. vesiculosum and S. acuminata chloroplast genomes more closely resemble the E. gracilis chloroplast genome in size of the genome, number of introns, and gene order than they do those of the Eutreptiales. Overall, the chloroplast genomes of these five species show an evolutionary trend toward increased intron number, a decrease in gene density, and substantial rearrangement of gene clusters.