Phylogenomics shows unique traits in Noctilucales are derived rather than ancestral
Cooney, Elizabeth; Leander, Brian; Keeling, Patrick (2022), Phylogenomics shows unique traits in Noctilucales are derived rather than ancestral, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ngf1vhhw7
Dinoflagellates are a diverse group of protists that possess many unique traits. These include (but are not limited to) expansive genomes packaged into permanently condensed chromosomes, photosynthetic or cryptic plastids acquired vertically or horizontally in serial endosymbioses, and a ruffle-like transverse flagellum attached along its length to the cell. When reconstructing character evolution, early branching lineages with unusual features that distinguish them from the rest of the group have proven useful for inferring ancestral states. The Noctilucales are one such lineage, possessing relaxed chromosomes in some life stages and a trailing, thread-like transverse flagellum. However, most of the cellular and molecular data for the entire group come from a single cultured species, Noctiluca scintillans, and because its phylogenetic position is unresolved, it remains unclear if these traits are ancestral or derived. Here, we use single cell transcriptomics to characterize three diverse Noctilucales genera: Spatulodinium, Kofoidinium, and a new lineage, Fabadinium gen. nov. We also provide transcriptomes for undescribed species in Amphidinium and Abediniales, critical taxa for clarifying the phylogenetic position of Noctilucales. Phylogenomic analyses suggest that the Noctilucales are sister to Amphidinium rather than an independent branch outside the core dinoflagellates. This topology is consistent with observations of shared characteristics between some members of Noctilucales and Amphidinium and provides the most compelling evidence to date that the unusual traits within this group are derived rather than ancestral. We also confirm that Spatulodinium plastids are photosynthetic and of ancestral origin, and show that all non-photosynthetic Noctilucales retain plastid genes indicating a cryptic organelle.
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Award: 9201
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: 2019-03986
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: 2019-03994