Symbiodinium genomes reveal adaptive evolution of functions related to coral-dinoflagellate symbiosis

Huanle Liu, Timothy G. Stephens, Raúl A. González-Pech, Victor H. Beltran, Bruno Lapeyre, Pim Bongaerts, Ira Cooke, Manuel Aranda, David G. Bourne, Sylvain Forêt, David J. Miller, Madeleine J. H. van Oppen, Christian R. Voolstra, Mark A. Ragan, Cheong Xin Chan

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133 Scopus citations


Symbiosis between dinoflagellates of the genus Symbiodinium and reef-building corals forms the trophic foundation of the world’s coral reef ecosystems. Here we present the first draft genome of Symbiodinium goreaui (Clade C, type C1: 1.03 Gbp), one of the most ubiquitous endosymbionts associated with corals, and an improved draft genome of Symbiodinium kawagutii (Clade F, strain CS-156: 1.05 Gbp) to further elucidate genomic signatures of this symbiosis. Comparative analysis of four available Symbiodinium genomes against other dinoflagellate genomes led to the identification of 2460 nuclear gene families (containing 5% of Symbiodinium genes) that show evidence of positive selection, including genes involved in photosynthesis, transmembrane ion transport, synthesis and modification of amino acids and glycoproteins, and stress response. Further, we identify extensive sets of genes for meiosis and response to light stress. These draft genomes provide a foundational resource for advancing our understanding of Symbiodinium biology and the coral-algal symbiosis.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 17 2018


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