September 22, 2019  |  

Genomic characterization reveals significant divergence within Chlorella sorokiniana (Chlorellales, Trebouxiophyceae)

Selection of highly productive algal strains is crucial for establishing economically viable biomass and biopro- duct cultivation systems. Characterization of algal genomes, including understanding strain-specific differences in genome content and architecture is a critical step in this process. Using genomic analyses, we demonstrate significant differences between three strains of Chlorella sorokiniana (strain 1228, UTEX 1230, and DOE1412). We found that unique, strain-specific genes comprise a substantial proportion of each genome, and genomic regions with> 80% local nucleotide identity constitute <15% of each genome among the strains, indicating substantial strain specific evolution. Furthermore, cataloging of meiosis and other sex-related genes in C. sor- okiniana strains suggests strategic breeding could be utilized to improve biomass and bioproduct yields if a sexual cycle can be characterized. Finally, preliminary investigation of epigenetic machinery suggests the pre- sence of potentially unique transcriptional regulation in each strain. Our data demonstrate that these three C. sorokiniana strains represent significantly different genomic content. Based on these findings, we propose in- dividualized assessment of each strain for potential performance in cultivation systems.

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