Next Article in Journal
High Proton Conducting Polymer Blend Electrolytes Based on Chitosan:Dextran with Constant Specific Capacitance and Energy Density
Next Article in Special Issue
Small Genomes and Big Data: Adaptation of Plastid Genomics to the High-Throughput Era
Previous Article in Journal
Identification of MicroRNA Targeting Mlph and Affecting Melanosome Transport
Previous Article in Special Issue
Organellar DNA Polymerases in Complex Plastid-Bearing Algae
Article Menu
Issue 7 (July) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessReview

Endosymbiotic Evolution of Algae, Secondary Heterotrophy and Parasitism

Institute of Parasitology, Biology Centre CAS, 37005 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, 37005 České Budějovice, Czech Republic
Biomolecules 2019, 9(7), 266;
Received: 18 June 2019 / Revised: 1 July 2019 / Accepted: 5 July 2019 / Published: 8 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary and Molecular Aspects of Plastid Endosymbioses)
PDF [1053 KB, uploaded 9 July 2019]


Photosynthesis is a biochemical process essential for life, serving as the ultimate source of chemical energy for phototrophic and heterotrophic life forms. Since the machinery of the photosynthetic electron transport chain is quite complex and is unlikely to have evolved multiple independent times, it is believed that this machinery has been transferred to diverse eukaryotic organisms by endosymbiotic events involving a eukaryotic host and a phototrophic endosymbiont. Thus, photoautotrophy, as a benefit, is transmitted through the evolution of plastids. However, many eukaryotes became secondarily heterotrophic, reverting to hetero-osmotrophy, phagotrophy, or parasitism. Here, I briefly review the constructive evolution of plastid endosymbioses and the consequential switch to reductive evolution involving losses of photosynthesis and plastids and the evolution of parasitism from a photosynthetic ancestor. View Full-Text
Keywords: endosymbiosis; evolution; plastid; photosynthesis; secondary heterotrophy; phagotrophy; parasitism endosymbiosis; evolution; plastid; photosynthesis; secondary heterotrophy; phagotrophy; parasitism

Graphical abstract

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Oborník, M. Endosymbiotic Evolution of Algae, Secondary Heterotrophy and Parasitism. Biomolecules 2019, 9, 266.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Biomolecules EISSN 2218-273X Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top