• biogeography;
  • Chlamydomonas reinhardtii;
  • Chlorophyceae;
  • mating population;
  • species


The microalga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a model organism whose whole genome has been sequenced. Although considered a cosmopolitan species, only eastern North American isolates of C. reinhardtii were available before 2010, when new Japanese isolates were reported. In the study describing the new Japanese isolates, zygote formation between Japanese and North American strains was shown, but germination was not demonstrated. In this study, the germination of intercontinental hybrid zygotes was examined using wild-type Japanese strains and mutant American strains that cannot utilize nitrate. Several clonal progeny strains were established, and the progeny strains were screened based on mating type and nitrate utilization to confirm their hybrid nature. The establishment of four intercontinental hybrid strains with different phenotypic combinations was confirmed by sequencing mating type-specific and nitrate reductase-related genes. The potential for hybrid formation between Japanese and North American strains suggests the existence of a worldwide mating population of C. reinhardtii.