In a search for slowly evolving nuclear genes that may cast light on the deep evolution of plants, we carried out phylogenetic analyses of two well-characterized subfamilies of P-type pumps (P2A and P5A ATPases) from representative branches of the eukaryotic tree of life. Both P-type ATPase genes were duplicated very early in eukaryotic evolution and before the divergence of the present eukaryotic supergroups. Synapomorphies identified in the sequences provide evidence that green plants and red algae are more distantly related than are green plants and eukaryotic supergroups in which secondary or tertiary plastids are common, such as several groups belonging to the clade that includes Stramenopiles, Alveolata, Rhizaria, Cryptophyta and Haptophyta (SAR). We propose that red algae branched off soon after the first photosynthesizing eukaryote had acquired a primary plastid, while in another lineage that led to SAR, the primary plastid was lost but, in some cases, regained as a secondary or tertiary plastid.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Evolutionary Biology