Nearly all land plants post‐transcriptionally modify specific nucleotides within RNAs, a process known as RNA editing. This adaptation allows the correction of deleterious mutations within the asexually reproducing and presumably non‐recombinant chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes. There are no reports of RNA editing in any of the green algae so this phenomenon is presumed to have originated in embryophytes either after the invasion of land or in the now extinct algal ancestor of all land plants. This was challenged when a recent in silico screen for RNA edit sites based on genomic sequence homology predicted edit sites in the green alga Chara vulgaris, a multicellular alga found within the Streptophyta clade and one of the closest extant algal relatives of land plants. In this study, the organelle transcriptomes of C. vulgaris and Chlamydomonas reinhardtii were deep sequenced for a comprehensive assessment of RNA editing. Initial analyses based solely on sequence comparisons suggested potential edit sites in both species, but subsequent high‐resolution melt analysis, RNase H‐dependent PCR (rhPCR), and Sanger sequencing of DNA and complementary DNAs (cDNAs) from each of the putative edit sites revealed them to be either single‐nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) or spurious deep sequencing results. The lack of RNA editing in these two lineages is consistent with the current hypothesis that RNA editing evolved after embryophytes split from its ancestral algal lineage.
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