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``The Evolution of Modern Eukaryotic Phytoplankton''

Summary: Comment on
``The Evolution of Modern
Eukaryotic Phytoplankton''
Falkowski et al. (1) reviewed the evidence
that three disparate groups of algae--
dinoflagellates, diatoms, and coccolitho-
phores, each with plastids derived from red
algae by secondary endosymbiosis--have
come to dominate the oceans_ flora over the
past 250 million years and speculated about
the forces responsible for this domination.
Central to this speculation is the Bportable
plastid hypothesis[ (1, 2), which posits that
the likelihood with which plastids will be
transferred between eukaryotes by secondary
endosymbiosis is directly related to the num-
ber of genes in their genomes. The more genes,
the argument contends, the more portable the
plastid. This hypothesis rests on three claims:
(i) red algal plastids retain more genes than do


Source: Archibald, John - Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Dalhousie University
Keeling, Patrick - Department of Botany, University of British Columbia
Palmer, Jeffrey - Department of Biology, Indiana University


Collections: Biology and Medicine; Environmental Sciences and Ecology