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Keywords:

  • Asexuality;
  • coral reefs;
  • dinoflagellates;
  • meiosis symbiosis;
  • zooxanthellae

Abstract

Symbiodinium encompasses a diverse clade of dinoflagellates that are ecologically important as symbionts of corals and other marine organisms. Despite decades of study, cytological evidence of sex (karyogamy and meiosis) has not been demonstrated in Symbiodinium, although molecular population genetic patterns support the occurrence of sexual recombination. Here, we provide additional support for sex in Symbiodinium by uncovering six meiosis-specific and 25 meiosis-related genes in three published genomes. Cryptic sex may be occurring in Symbiodinium's seldom-seen free-living state while being inactive in the symbiotic state.