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Brown Algal Model Organisms

Published: 23 November 2020
Annual Review of Genetics , Volume 54, pp 71-92; doi:10.1146/annurev-genet-030620-093031

Abstract: Model organisms are extensively used in research as accessible and convenient systems for studying a particular area or question in biology. Traditionally, only a limited number of organisms have been studied in detail, but modern genomic tools are enabling researchers to extend beyond the set of classical model organisms to include novel species from less-studied phylogenetic groups. This review focuses on model species for an important group of multicellular organisms, the brown algae. The development of genetic and genomic tools for the filamentous brown alga Ectocarpus has led to it emerging as a general model system for this group, but additional models, such as Fucus or Dictyota dichotoma, remain of interest for specific biological questions. In addition, Saccharina japonica has emerged as a model system to directly address applied questions related to algal aquaculture. We discuss the past, present, and future of brown algal model organisms in relation to the opportunities and challenges in brown algal research.
Keywords: brown algae / life cycle / multicellularity / sex determination

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