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Chlamydomonas reinhardtii is a unicellular green alga whose lineage diverged from land plants over 1 billion years ago. It is a model system for studying chloroplast-based photosynthesis, as well as the structure, assembly, and function of eukaryotic flagella (cilia), which were inherited from the common ancestor of plants and animals, but lost in land(More)
The multicellular green alga Volvox carteri and its morphologically diverse close relatives (the volvocine algae) are well suited for the investigation of the evolution of multicellularity and development. We sequenced the 138-mega-base pair genome of V. carteri and compared its approximately 14,500 predicted proteins to those of its unicellular relative(More)
Altruistic suicide is best known in the context of programmed cell death (PCD) in multicellular individuals, which is understood as an adaptive process that contributes to the development and functionality of the organism. After the realization that PCD-like processes can also be induced in single-celled lineages, the paradigm of altruistic cell death has(More)
The fitness of an evolutionary individual can be understood in terms of its two basic components: survival and reproduction. As embodied in current theory, trade-offs between these fitness components drive the evolution of life-history traits in extant multicellular organisms. Here, we argue that the evolution of germ-soma specialization and the emergence(More)
Reproductive altruism is an extreme form of altruism best typified by sterile castes in social insects and somatic cells in multicellular organisms. Although reproductive altruism is central to the evolution of multicellularity and eusociality, the mechanistic basis for the evolution of this behaviour is yet to be deciphered. Here, we report that the gene(More)
Explaining the adaptive value of sex is one of the great outstanding problems in biology. The challenge comes from the difficulty in identifying the benefits provided by sex, which must outweigh the substantial costs of sex. Here, we consider the adaptive value of sex in viruses, bacteria and fungi, and particularly the information available on the adaptive(More)
This study provides a phylogenetic/comparative approach to deciphering the processes underlying the evolution of plastid rRNA genes in genomes under relaxed functional constraints. Nonphotosynthetic green algal taxa that belong to two distinct classes, Chlorophyceae (Polytoma) and Trebouxiophyceae (Prototheca), were investigated. Similar to the situation(More)
In addition to mutation, gene duplication and recombination, the transfer of genetic material between unrelated species is now regarded as a potentially significant player in the shaping of extant genomes and the evolution and diversification of life. Although this is probably true for prokaryotes, the extent of such genetic exchanges in eukaryotes(More)
The endosymbiotic origin of plastids was a launching point for eukaryotic evolution. The autotrophic abilities bestowed by plastids are responsible for much of the eukaryotic diversity we observe today. But despite its many advantages, photosynthesis has been lost numerous times and in disparate lineages throughout eukaryote evolution. For example, among(More)