Algal sex determination and the evolution of anisogamy

James Umen, Susana Coelho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Algae are photosynthetic eukaryotes whose taxonomic breadth covers a range of life histories, degrees of cellular and developmental complexity, and diverse patterns of sexual reproduction. These patterns include haploid- and diploid-phase sex determination, isogamous mating systems, and dimorphic sexes. Despite the ubiquity of sexual reproduction in algae, their mating-type-determination and sex-determination mechanisms have been investigated in only a limited number of representatives. These include volvocine green algae, where sexual cycles and sex-determining mechanisms have shed light on the transition from mating types to sexes, and brown algae, which are a model for UV sex chromosome evolution in the context of a complex haplodiplontic life cycle. Recent advances in genomics have aided progress in understanding sexual cycles in less-studied taxa including ulvophyte, charophyte, and prasinophyte green algae, as well as in diatoms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-291
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual review of microbiology
StatePublished - 2019


  • Brown algae
  • Life cycle
  • Sex chromosome
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • Volvocine algae


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