Royal Society Open Science
Biology | Life Sciences
The evolution of multicellularity was a major transition in evolution and set the stage for unprecedented increases in complexity, especially in land plants and animals. Here, we explore the genetics underlying a de novo origin of multicellularity in a microbial evolution experiment carried out on the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. We show that large-scale changes in gene expression underlie the transition to a multicellular life cycle. Among these, changes to genes involved in cell cycle and reproductive processes were overrepresented, as were changes to C. reinhardtii-specific and volvocine-specific genes. These results suggest that the genetic basis for the experimental evolution of multicellularity in C. reinhardtii has both lineage-specific and shared features, and that the shared features have more in common with C. reinhardtii's relatives among the volvocine algae than with other multicellular green algae or land plants.
Chlamydomonas, Experimental evolution, Genetics, Major transitions, Multicellularity
© 2018 The Authors
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Herron, Matthew D.; Ratcliff, William C.; Boswell, Jacob; and Rosenzweig, Frank, "Genetics of a de novo origin of undifferentiated multicellularity" (2018). Biological Sciences Faculty Publications. 430.