Symbiodinium genomes reveal adaptive evolution of functions related to symbiosis

Symbiosis between dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium and reef-building corals forms the trophic foundation of the world's coral reef ecosystems. Here we present the first draft genome of Symbiodinium goreaui (Clade C, type C1: 1.03 Gbp), one of the most ubiquitous endosymbionts associated with corals, and an improved draft genome of Symbiodinium kawagutii (Clade F, strain CS-156: 1.05 Gbp), previously sequenced as strain CCMP2468, to further elucidate genomic signatures of this symbiosis. Comparative analysis of four available Symbiodinium genomes against other dinoflagellate genomes led to the identification of 2460 nuclear gene families that show evidence of positive selection, including genes involved in photosynthesis, transmembrane ion transport, synthesis and modification of amino acids and glycoproteins, and stress response. Further, we identified extensive sets of genes for meiosis and response to light stress. These draft genomes provide a foundational resource for advancing our understanding Symbiodinium biology and the coral-algal symbiosis.

Liu H, Stephens TG, González-Pech R, Beltran VH, Lapeyre B, et al. (2017) Symbiodinium genomes reveal adaptive evolution of functions related to symbiosis . Available:

We thank Manuel Aranda for advance access to the S. microadriaticum genome data, and Todd LaJeunesse for information on the original isolation of S. kawagutii. This project was supported by the Reef Future Genomics (ReFuGe) 2020 International Consortium and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The data reported in this work were supported by funding from Bioplatforms Australia through the Australian Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS). In memory of SF, our friend and colleague who is sorely missed.

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


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