Genomic analysis of organismal complexity in the multicellular green alga volvox carteri

Simon E. Prochnik, James Umen, Aurora M. Nedelcu, Armin Hallmann, Stephen M. Miller, Ichiro Nishii, Patrick Ferris, Alan Kuo, Therese Mitros, Lillian K. Fritz-Laylin, Uffe Hellsten, Jarrod Chapman, Oleg Simakov, Stefan A. Rensing, Astrid Terry, Jasmyn Pangilinan, Vladimir Kapitonov, Jerzy Jurka, Asaf Salamov, Harris ShapiroJeremy Schmutz, Jane Grimwood, Erika Lindquist, Susan Lucas, Igor V. Grigoriev, Rüdiger Schmitt, David Kirk, Daniel S. Rokhsar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

462 Scopus citations


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 ̃14,500 predicted proteins to those of its unicellular relative Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Despite fundamental differences in organismal complexity and life history, the two species have similar protein-coding potentials and few species-specific protein-coding gene predictions. Volvox is enriched in volvocine-algal-specific proteins, including those associated with an expanded and highly compartmentalized extracellular matrix. Our analysis shows that increases in organismal complexity can be associated with modifications of lineage-specific proteins rather than large-scale invention of protein-coding capacity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)223-226
Number of pages4
Issue number5988
StatePublished - Jul 9 2010


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