Volvox carteri

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Figure 1. Volvox carteri (?).

Higher Order Taxa

Domain: Eukaryota

Kingdom: Viridiplantae

Phylum: Chlorophyta

Class: Chlorophyceae

Order: Chlamydomonadales

Family: Volvocaceae


Volvox carteri

NCBI: [1]

Description and Significance

Figure 2. (caption).

Describe the appearance, habitat, etc. of the organism, and why you think it is important.

Volvox carteri is a multicellular eukaryotic species of green alga containing both somatic and germline cells. These cells interact to form a hollow, spherical parent colony comprised of about 2,000 cells.


Genome Structure

The Volvox carteri genome was first sequenced in 2010.[6] It had generated interest as a model system to examine the evolution of multicellularity and genomic complexity associated with such a phenomenon. The number of chromosomes that composes the nuclear genome of V. carteri is unestablished; some sources indicate the identification of up to 19 distinct linkage groups, while others find just 14.[5][6] A number of genome characteristics have been defined, however. The nuclear genome is 138 Mbp long and 18% coding, with a GC content of 56%.[5]

A number of papers investigating the evolution of complexity and multicellularity compare the V. carteri genome to a related member of the Volvocine algae family, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Relative to the other species in the family, these two organisms are as far apart evolutionarily as possible; C. reinhardtii is simpler and unicellular. Though sequencing both of their genomes has given us insights into their evolutionary history, interest in an examination of genomes of intermediate species has been demonstrated.[6]

Cell Structure, Metabolism and Life Cycle

Interesting features of cell structure; how it gains energy; what important molecules it produces.

Figure 3. Life cycle of Volvox carteri (?).



Habitat; symbiosis; biogeochemical significance; contributions to environment.
If relevant, how does this organism cause disease? Human, animal, plant hosts? Virulence factors, as well as patient symptoms.


[1] Kirk, D.L., Birchem, R., and King, N. “The Extracellular Matrix of Volvox: A Comparative Study and Proposed System of Nomenclature.” Journal of Cell Sciences. 1986. Volume 80. p. 207-231.

[2] Lotha, G., Petruzzello, M., Promeet, D., and Rimsa, C. "Volvox: Genus of Green Algae." Encyclopedia Britannica. 2016.

[3] Tucker, R.G. and Darden, W.H. “Nucleic Acid Synthesis during the Vegetative Life Cycle of Volvox aureus M5.” Archaeological Microbiology. 1972. Volume 84. p. 87-94.

[4] Van Leeuwenhoek, A. "Part of a letter from Mr Antony Van Leeuwenhoek, concerning the worms in Sheeps livers, Gnats and animalcula in the excrements of Frogs." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. 1701. Volume 22. p. 509-518.

[5] Prochnik, Simon E et al. “Genomic Analysis of Organismal Complexity in the Multicellular Green Alga Volvox Carteri.” Science (New York, N.Y.) 329.5988 (2010): 223–6. Web. 14 Apr. 2018.

[6] Umen, James G, and Bradley J S C Olson. “Genomics of Volvocine Algae.” Advances in botanical research 64 (2012): 185–243. Web. 14 Apr. 2018.

[7] Choi, G., Przybylska, M., and Straus, D. "Three abundant germ line-specific transcripts in Volvox carteri encode photosynthetic proteins." Current Genetics. 1996. Volume 30. p. 347-355.


Page authored by Madison Fiegl and JD French, students of Prof. Jay Lennon at Indiana University.