Draft genome sequence of the Antarctic green alga <I>Chlamydomonas</I> sp. UWO241

TitleDraft genome sequence of the Antarctic green alga Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsZhang, X, Cvetkovska, M, Morgan-Kiss, RM, Hüner, NPA, Smith, DRoy
Date Published2021-02

Antarctica is home to an assortment of psychrophilic algae, which have evolved various survival strategies for coping with their frigid environments. Here, we explore Antarctic psychrophily by examining the ∼212 Mb draft nuclear genome of the green alga Chlamydomonas sp. UWO241, which resides within the water column of a perennially ice-covered, hypersaline lake. Like certain other Antarctic algae, UWO241 encodes a large number (≥37) of ice-binding proteins, putatively originating from horizontal gene transfer. Even more striking, UWO241 harbors hundreds of highly similar duplicated genes involved in diverse cellular processes, some of which we argue are aiding its survival in the Antarctic via gene dosage. Gene and partial gene duplication appear to be an ongoing phenomenon within UWO241, one which might be mediated by retrotransposons. Ultimately, we consider how such a process could be associated with adaptation to extreme environments but explore potential non-adaptive hypotheses as well.