The genome of Prasinoderma coloniale unveils the existence of a third phylum within green plants (Nature Ecol. Evol.)

The green plant lineage (Viridiplantae) has long been described as having a single origin (starting with the engulfment of a cyanobacteria-like endosymbiont) that has led to two phyla: the Streptophyta, including embryophytes (land plants) and some algae such as chara and nitella, and the Chlorophyta, encompassing most of the other algae including chlamydomonas, volvox, chlorella, and ostreococcus. Now, Li et al. have sequenced a tiny unicellular alga isolated from deep in the water column and found that it represents a distinct, third phylum, which they call the Prasinodermaphyta, which split off before the divergence of the Streptophyta and Chlorophyta. This new phylum provides new insights into the very earliest days of the  Viridiplantae, and provides a unique opportunity to reconstruct the minimum core genome of Viridiplantae. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) Nature Ecol. Evol. 10.1038/s41559-020-1221-7