What are Stramenopiles?

Stramenopiles are a "crown" taxon that evolved about 300 million years ago and radiated after the Cretaceous Period. They include both photosynthetic and nonphotosynthetic taxa. Photosynthetic members include brown seaweeds, diatoms, chrysophytes and several other groups varying in morphology from simple unicells to more highly complex structures. These autotrophic eukaryotes impact many of the earth's biogeochemical cycles (e.g. sulfur and nitrogen loading) and serve as primary producers that fix a significant portion of the total CO2 processed on earth. The stramenopiles represent a major eukaryotic group that is taxonomically distinct from the chlorophytic or rhodophytic lineages of autotrophs.

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Why Chloroplast Genomes?

Chloroplasts are intracellular organelles. They carry their own genome that encodes for many (but not all) of the genes essential for photosynthesis. With respect to chloroplast genomic studies, almost exclusive emphasis has been placed on the generation of data from the chlorophytic lineage of autotrophs. About 15 chlorophytic chloroplast genomes have been sequenced in their entirety and there are many more projects ongoing, particularly land plants. However, to date, only minimal data exists with respect to chloroplast genome sequences for non-chlorophyll b-containing algae (of the approximately 100,000 known species) despite their important contributions to ecosystem function.

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This project is a joint effort between the research groups of Dr. Rose Ann Cattolico and Dr. Gabrielle Rocap at the University of Washington. Some of this work is part of a larger Assembling the Tree of Life Project-- Deep Brown.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants No. 0523756 and 0629554. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recomendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation (NSF)

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The mesozoic radiation of eukaryotic algae: The portable plastid hypothesis
Grzebyk D, Schofield O, Vetriani C, Falkowski PG
39 (2): 259-267 APR 2003

Comparative analysis of chloroplast genomes: Functional annotation, genome-based phylogeny, and deduced evolutionary patterns
De las Rivas J, Lozano JJ, Ortiz AR
12 (4): 567-583 APR 2002

Primary and secondary endosymbiosis and the origin of plastids
McFadden GI
37 (6): 951-959 DEC 2001

Phylogenetic relationships of the 'golden algae' (haptophytes, heterokont chromophytes) and their chloroplasts
Medlin, L. K., W. H. C. F. Kooistra, D. Potter, G. W. Saunders and R. A. Andersen
11: 187-219 1997