Intraspecific Variation in Protists : Clues for Microevolution from Poteriospumella lacustris (Chrysophyceae).

Majda, Stephan GND; Boenigk, Jens GND; Beisser, Daniela GND

Species delimitation in protists is still a challenge, attributable to the fact that protists are small, difficult to observe and many taxa are poor in morphological characters, whereas most current phylogenetic approaches only use few marker genes to measure genetic diversity. To address this problem, we assess genome-level divergence and microevolution in strains of the protist Poteriospumella lacustris, one of the first free-living, nonmodel organisms to study genome-wide intraspecific variation.

Poteriospumella lacustris is a freshwater protist belonging to the Chrysophyceae with an assumed worldwide distribution. We examined three strains from different geographic regions (New Zealand, China, and Austria) by sequencing their genomes with the Illumina and PacBio platforms.

The assembled genomes were small with 49-55 Mb but gene-rich with 16,000-19,000 genes, of which ∼8,000 genes could be assigned to functional categories. At least 68% of these genes were shared by all three species. Genetic variation occurred predominantly in genes presumably involved in ecological niche adaptation. Most surprisingly, we detected differences in genome ploidy between the strains (diploidy, triploidy, and tetraploidy).

In analyzing intraspecific variation, several mechanisms of diversification were identified including SNPs, change of ploidy and genome size reduction.


Citation style:
Majda, S., Boenigk, J., Beisser, D., 2019. Intraspecific Variation in Protists: Clues for Microevolution from Poteriospumella lacustris (Chrysophyceae). Genome Biol Evol.
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