Origin and evolution of the colonial Volvocales (Chlorophyceae) as inferred from multiple, chloroplast gene sequences

Hisayoshi Nozaki, Kazuharu Misawa, Tadashi Kajita, Masahiro Kato, Seiichi Nohara, Makoto M. Watanabe

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123 Citations (Scopus)


A combined data set of DNA sequences (6021 bp) from five protein-coding genes of the chloroplast genome (rbcL, atpB, psaA, psaB, and psbC genes) were analyzed for 42 strains representing 30 species of the colonial Volvocales (Volvox and its relatives) and 5 related species of green algae to deduce robust phylogenetic relationships within the colonial green flagellates. The 4-celled family Tetrabaenaceae was robustly resolved as the most basal group within the colonial Volvocales. The sequence data also suggested that all five volvocacean genera with 32 or more cells in a vegetative colony (all four of the anisogamous/oogamous genera, Eudorina, Platydorina, Pleodorina, and Volvox, plus the isogamous genus Yamagishiella) constituted a large monophyletic group, in which 2 Pleodorina species were positioned distally to 3 species of Volvox. Therefore, most of the evolution of the colonial Volvocales appears to constitute a gradual progression in colonial complexity and in types of sexual reproduction, as in the traditional volvocine lineage hypothesis, although reverse evolution must be considered for the origin of certain species of Pleodorina. Data presented here also provide robust support for a monophyletic family Goniaceae consisting of two genera: Gonium and Astrephomene. (C) 2000 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)256-268
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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