Josué Barrera Redondo

Humboldt Research Fellow | Max Planck Institute for Biology

Evolution of the brown algae

Himanthalia elongata in the coast of Roscoff, France (2022, photo by  Min Zheng).
Himanthalia elongata in the coast of Roscoff, France (2022, photo by Min Zheng).
Brown algae (Phaeophyceae) are a eukaryotic lineage that has been evolving independently from animals and plants for more than a billion years. Brown algae constitute the third most complex eukaryotic multicellular lineage, displaying a wide variety of complex morphologies in both the haploid and diploid phases of their life cycle, thus representing a unique model to study the universality or uniqueness of biological processes throughout the tree of life. Surprisingly, brown algae evolved their complex multicellularity in the last 220 million years. To put things into perspective, brown algae diverged from its closest unicellular relatives around 240 Mya, much later than when insects diverged from spiders, around  536 Mya.

Not only did brown algae evolved complex multicellularity, they also evolved a sex-determination system based on UV chromosomes. Besides determining sex, the UV chromosomes in brown algae display interesting evolutionary dynamics that distinguish them from the autosomes

I'm currently studying the evolution of brown algae using phylogenetics and comparative genomics to understand the emergence of complexity in this group, as well as the evolution of their sex chromosomes and how they influence the emergence of novel genomic elements.


Evolution of life cycles and reproductive traits: insights from the brown algae

Svenja Heesch, Martha Serrano-Serrano, Josué Barrera-Redondo, Rémy Luthringer, Akira F Peters, Christophe Destombe, J Mark Cock, Myriam Valero, Denis Roze, Nicolas Salamin, Susana M Coelho

Journal of Evolutionary Biology, vol. 34, Wiley Online Library, 2021, pp. 992-1009

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