Mesostigma viride genome and transcriptome provide insights into the origin and evolution of Streptophyta (Adv. Sci)

Multicellularity has arisen independently many times across the eukaryotic tree of life (e.g., in plants, animals and fungi). Comparisons of green algae with land plants is likely to identify the genetic toolkit of multicellularity as well as the colonization of terrestrial habitats. Here, Liang et al. present the genome and transcriptome of the single-celled charophyte alga Mesostigma viride, a streptophyte. Streptophytes (single-celled charophytes, multicellular charophytes, and plants) diverged from chlorophyte green algae about a billion years ago. Comparative analyses revealed that M. viride has greater genetic similarity to embryophytes than to unicellular chlorophyte algae. Genes shared between the single-celled M. viride and multicellular plants are associated with multicellular processes such as cell to cell communication and cell division. The research presented provides new insights into the origins of multicellularity and terrestrial flora (Summary by Alex Bowles) Advanced Science 10.1002/advs.201901850