Minglu Gao, research scientist at Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, dives deeper into the origins of multicellularity through leveraging Volvox carteri, an aesthetically-pleasing algal species. He explains how genes in unicellular algal ancestors were repurposed in multicellular green algae.
Abstract: Ongoing discussions of the transition from unicellular to multicellular organisms have always been in the spotlight. Anti-predator adaptation, efficient acquisition and storage of nutrients, and improved mobility of the multicellular organisms embody the power of many. The sophisticating challenges of pursuing evolution origins with animals and land plants have prompted us to resort to a simplified model aquatic organism, Volvox carteri, with only one type of vegetative reproductive cell and one type of terminally differentiated somatic cell. Comparative transcriptomic analyses with its unicellular close relative Chlamydomonas reinhardtii have indicated repurposing of environmentally controlled genes in the common ancestor. To achieve a broader impact, we’ve launched the Discover Volvox Development (DVD) program to engage local school communities with cutting edge scientific research.
Please Note: At approximately 11:23 to 11:26 in the video Dr. Gao states “megabyte” when he meant to say “mega basepairs.”