Phylogenetic evidence for the cryptophyte origin of the plastid of Dinophysis (Dinophysiales, Dinophyceae)

Jeremiah D. Hackett, Lucie Maranda, Hwan Su Yoon, Debashish Bhattacharya

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90 Scopus citations


Photosynthetic members of the genus Dinophysis Ehrenberg contain a plastid of uncertain origin. Ultrastructure and pigment analyses suggest that the two-membrane-bound plastid of Dinophysis spp. has been acquired through endosymbiosis from a cryptophyte. However, these organisms do not survive in culture, raising the possibility that Dinophysis spp. have a transient kleptoplast. To test the origin and permanence of the plastid of Dinophysis, we sequenced plastid-encoded psbA and small subunit rDNA from single-cell isolates of D. acuminata Claparède et Lachman, D. acuta Ehrenberg, and D. norvegica Claparède et Lachman. Phylogenetic analyses confirm the cryptophyte origin of the plastid. Plastid sequences from different populations isolated at different times are monophyletic with robust support and show limited polymorphism. DNA sequencing also revealed plastid sequences of florideophyte origin, indicating that Dinophysis may be feeding on red algae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-448
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003


  • Dinoflagellates
  • Dinophysis
  • Endosymbiosis
  • Kleptoplastidy
  • Mixotrophy
  • Plastid evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Plant Science


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