Micromonas is a common member of marine phytoplankton communities and the genome sequences are aiding our understanding of the environmental success of these picophytoplankton. The genome is also helpful to those working on the evolution of higher plants. Micromonas belongs to the Prasinophyceae which are ancient members of the green lineage, the lineage giving rise to higher plants. Plants of the green lineage currently dominate terrestrial plant biomass. In terms of its biology, Micromonas is a fast swimmer and, unlike many members of the Prasinophyceae, does not have scales on its cell surface.
Micromonas strain RCC299 was isolated in 1998 during a research cruise in the Equatorial Pacific. Subsequently it was rendered clonal and axenic in 2005. RCC299 (also known as NOUM17) was chosen for complete genome sequencing because it was isolated from tropical waters (equatorial Pacific) in contrast to another strain that is being sequenced (CCMP1545) which was isolated from temperate coastal waters, and belongs to a different phylogenetic clade.
The original strain that was prepared for genome sequencing is available from the Roscoff Culture Collection (where it is designated RCC299). The axenic, clonal culture has now been deposited at the Center for Culture of Marine Phytoplankton (where it is designated CCMP2709). For more information on isolation sites, phylogeny, medias and growth conditions for this strain go to PrasinoSite.
Publication: Green Evolution and Dynamic Adaptations Revealed by Genomes of the Marine Picoeukaryotes Micromonas. Science. 2009 April 10;324(5924):268-272
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