DOI: 10.1111/jpy.13386 ISSN:

Developing model systems for dinoflagellates in the post‐genomic era

Hisatake Ishida, Uwe John, Shauna A. Murray, Debashish Bhattacharya, Cheong Xin Chan
  • Plant Science
  • Aquatic Science


Dinoflagellates are a diverse group of eukaryotic microbes that are ubiquitous in aquatic environments. Largely photosynthetic, they encompass symbiotic, parasitic, and free‐living lineages with a broad spectrum of trophism. Many free‐living taxa can produce bioactive secondary metabolites such as biotoxins, some of which cause harmful algal blooms. In contrast, most symbiotic species are crucial for sustaining coral reef health. The year 2023 marked a decade since the first genome data of dinoflagellates became available. The growing genome‐scale resources for these taxa are highlighting their remarkable evolutionary and genomic complexities. Here, we discuss the prospect of developing dinoflagellate models using the criteria of accessibility, tractability, resources, research support, and promise. Moving forward in the post‐genomic era, we argue for the development of fit‐to‐purpose models that tailor to specific biological contexts, and that a one‐size‐fits‐all model is inadequate for encapsulating the complex biology, ecology, and evolutionary history of dinoflagellates.

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