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Dinoflagellates: a remarkable evolutionary experiment

Author(s): Hackett JD, Anderson DM, Erdner DL, Bhattacharya D

Abstract

In this paper, we focus on dinoflagellate ecology, toxin production, fossil record, and a molecular phylogenetic analysis of hosts and plastids. Of ecological interest are the swimming and feeding behavior, bioluminescence, and symbioses of dinoflagellates with corals. The many varieties of dinoflagellate toxins, their biological effects, and current knowledge of their origin are discussed. Knowledge of dinoflagellate evolution is aided by a rich fossil record that can be used to document their emergence and diversification. However, recent biogeochemical studies indicate that dinoflagellates may be much older than previously believed. A remarkable feature of dinoflagellates is their unique genome structure and gene regulation.

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