Higher Order Taxa
Description and Significance
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.
The Volvox carteri genome was first sequenced in 2010. 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. 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%.
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.
Cell Structure, Metabolism and Life Cycle
Interesting features of cell structure; how it gains energy; what important molecules it produces.
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.
 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.
Page authored by Madison Fiegl and JD French, students of Prof. Jay Lennon at Indiana University.