Researchers report in Cell this week the genome sequence of Naegleria gruberi, an amoeba capable of shifting among three distinct morphological identities. Naegleria usually subsists as a common solid amoeba; under stress it generates two flagella for motility; further still, it can persist as a “hard cyst” in soil until moisture permits its return to its amoeba form. “In a sense, analyzing the Naegleria genome shows us what it would be like to be on this planet more than a billion years ago, and what kind of organisms were around then and what they might have looked like,” Simon Prochnik, paper co-author, said in a statement. The team reports that the amoeba contains 15,727 genes which code for proteins, and suggests that their study will enhance future investigations of the transition from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. “The Naegleria genome facilitates substantially broader phylogenomic comparisons of free-living eukaryotes than previously possible,” the authors write.
Mixed-Identity Amoeba Genome Sequenced
Mar 05, 2010