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Seaweed genome reveals tools for multicellular lifestyle

Genetic study of a brown alga also shows genes important for life in the intertidal zone

The genetic blueprints of a type of seaweed may contain a map for building multicellular organisms, a new study suggests.

A brown alga called Ectocarpus siliculosus contains a family of proteins important in cell-to-cell communication, a critical task for any multicellular life, researchers dissecting the seaweed’s complete genetic makeup report in the June 3 Nature. This type of seaweed is an important model organism for studying the evolution of multicelled organisms.

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