Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Little brown balls' tie malaria and algae to common ancestor, researchers find

Date:
June 2, 2010
Source:
University of British Columbia
Summary:
Inconspicuous "little brown balls" in the ocean have helped settle a long-standing debate about the origin of malaria and the algae responsible for toxic red tides, according to a new study.

Under the microscope, Chromera looks like inconspicuous "little brown balls."
Credit: Patrick Keeling

Inconspicuous "little brown balls" in the ocean have helped settle a long-standing debate about the origin of malaria and the algae responsible for toxic red tides, according to a new study by University of British Columbia researchers.

Related Articles


In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition, UBC Botany Prof. Patrick Keeling describes the genome of Chromera and its role in definitively linking the evolutionary histories of malaria and dinoflalgellate algae.

"Under the microscope, Chromera looks like boring little brown balls," says Keeling. "In fact, the ocean is full of little brown and green balls and they're often overlooked in favour of more glamorous organisms, but this one has proved to be more interesting than its flashier cousins."

First described in the journal Nature in 2008, Chromera is found as a symbiont inside corals. Although it has a compartment -- called a plastid -- that carries out photosynthesis like other algae and plants, Chromera is closely related to apicomplexan parasites -- including malaria. This discovery raised the possibility that Chromera may be a "missing link" between the two.

Now Keeling, along with PhD candidate Jan Janouskovec, postdoctoral fellow Ales Horak and collaborators from the Czech Republic, has sequenced the plastid genome of Chromera and found features that were passed down to both apicomplexan and dinoflagellate plastids, linking the two lineages.

"These tiny organisms have a huge impact on humanity in very different ways," says Keeling. "The tool used by dinoflagellates and Chromera to do good -- symbiosis with corals -- at some point became an infection mechanism for apicomplexans like malaria to infect healthy cells.

"Resolving their evolutionary origins not only settles a long-standing scientific debate but could ultimately provide crucial information for tackling diseases and environmental concerns."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of British Columbia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jan Janouškovec, Aleš Horαk, Miroslav Obornνk, Julius Lukeš, and Patrick J. Keeling. A common red algal origin of the apicomplexan, dinoflagellate, and heterokont plastids. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003335107

Cite This Page:

University of British Columbia. "'Little brown balls' tie malaria and algae to common ancestor, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100601162258.htm>.
University of British Columbia. (2010, June 2). 'Little brown balls' tie malaria and algae to common ancestor, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 30, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100601162258.htm
University of British Columbia. "'Little brown balls' tie malaria and algae to common ancestor, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100601162258.htm (accessed January 30, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, January 30, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Nanoscale Sensor Could Help Wine Producers and Clinical Scientists

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Jan. 30, 2015) — A nanosensor that mimics the oral effects and sensations of drinking wine has been developed by Danish and Portuguese researchers. Jim Drury saw it in operation. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Discovery Of 'Dragon' Dinosaur In China Could Explain Myths

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) — A long-necked dinosaur from the Jurassic Period was discovered in China. Researchers think it could answer mythology questions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Poll Says Firstborn Is Responsible, Youngest Is Funnier

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) — According to a poll out of the U.K., eldest siblings feel more responsible and successful than their younger siblings. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Brawling Pandas Are Violently Adorable

Buzz60 (Jan. 29, 2015) — Video of pandas play fighting at the Chengdu Research Base in China will make your day. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) shows us. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins