A new strategy for intragenus phylotyping of microalgae

    Microalgae play an important role in biological carbon capture and primary biomass production via photosynthesis. Moreover, certain microalgae can serve as potential producers of biodiesel and other renewable fuels due to their high oil content, rapid growth and environmental tolerance. However, current phylogenetic markers (such as ITS) are often unable to accurately distinguish different algae species or strains within a given genus. Therefore, it is important to develop phylogenetic markers with high sensitivity and high reliability.


    A novel strategy for microalgal phylotyping was proposed by Ph.D. students WEI Li, XIN Yi and other colleagues. Using the oleaginous eustigmatophyte Nannochloropsis as a model, the complete organelle genome sequences of seven strains were produced and compared. All coding and non-coding DNA fragments were tested for their potential performance as phylogenetic markers, as compared to existing markers. New molecular markers with better performance than existing ones were discovered (Figure 1). The research was published online in BMC Genomics and was ranked as “Highly accessed”.


    The study was led by Prof. XU Jian. Prof. HU Qiang from Arizona State University and Prof. CHEN Feng from theUniversity of Maryland also participated in this work. The work was funded by National Basic Research Program from Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2012CB721101), International Research Collaboration Program (31010103907) from National Natural Science Foundation of China and International Innovation Partnership Program from Chinese Academy of Sciences.


    Nannochloropsis plastid and mitochondrial phylogenomes reveal organelle diversification mechanism and intragenus phylotyping strategy in microalgae, BMC Genomics.2013, 14:534.DOI: 10.1186/10.1186/1471-2164-14-534;

    URL: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/14/534 

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