The peridinin-pigmented plastids of dinoflagellates are very poorly understood, in part because of the paucity of molecular data available from these endosymbiotic organelles. To identify additional gene sequences that would carry information about the biology of the peridinin-type dinoflagellate plastid and its evolutionary history, an analysis was undertaken of arbitrarily selected sequences from cDNA libraries constructed from Lingulodinium polyedrum (1012 non-redundant sequences) and Amphidinium carterae (2143). Among the two libraries 118 unique plastid-associated sequences were identified, including 30 (most from A. carterae) that are encoded in the plastid genome of the red alga Porphyra. These sequences probably represent bona fide nuclear genes, and suggest that there has been massive transfer of genes from the plastid to the nuclear genome in dinoflagellates. These data support the hypothesis that the peridinin-type plastid has a minimal genome, and provide data that contradict the hypothesis that there is an unidentified canonical genome in the peridinin-type plastid. Sequences were also identified that were probably transferred directly from the nuclear genome of the red algal endosymbiont, as well as others that are distinctive to the Alveolata. A preliminary report of these data was presented at the Botany 2002 meeting in Madison, WI.
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