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Diversity and Evolution of Plastids and Their Genomes
 

Summary: Diversity and Evolution of Plastids
and Their Genomes
E. Kim and J. M. Archibald (* )
Abstract Plastids, the light-harvesting organelles of plants and algae, are the
descendants of cyanobacterial endosymbionts that became permanent fixtures
inside nonphotosynthetic eukaryotic host cells. This chapter provides an overview
of the structural, functional and molecular diversity of plastids in the context of
current views on the evolutionary relationships among the eukaryotic hosts in
which they reside. Green algae, land plants, red algae and glaucophyte algae har-
bor double-membrane-bound plastids whose ancestry is generally believed to trace
directly to the original cyanobacterial endosymbiont. In contrast, the plastids of
many other algae, such as dinoflagellates, diatoms and euglenids, are usually bound
by more than two membranes, suggesting that these were acquired indirectly via
endosymbiotic mergers between nonphotosynthetic eukaryotic hosts and eukaryo-
tic algal endosymbionts. An increasing amount of genomic data from diverse
photosynthetic taxa has made it possible to test specific hypotheses about the evolu-
tion of photosynthesis in eukaryotes and, consequently, improve our understanding
of the genomic and biochemical diversity of modern-day eukaryotic phototrophs.
1 Introduction
The origin and evolution of plastids,1

  

Source: Archibald, John - Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University

 

Collections: Biology and Medicine