Dinoflagellate genetics and DNA characterization : (dinoflagellates, evolution, nucleus, DNA, genetics, mesocaryota)
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Nuclear features of dinoflagellates that were used origin ally to support the Mesocaryota concept are reviewed. Although dinoflagellates possess some procaryotic nuclear features, the remainder of the cell is obviously eucaryotic. The fibrillary diameter of the chromatin, low level of chromosomal basic proteins, membrane attachment of the chromosomes and swirl pattern seen in sectioned chromosomes all support a procaryotic affinity. On the other hand, the repeated and highly complex DNA, S-phase of DNA synthesis, and the presence of basic proteins and extra nuclear spindle support the contention that dinoflagellates are eucaryotic. The possession of both procaryotic and eukaryotic nuclear features indicate that this group evolved relatively early in biological time. A review is made of recent attempts to analyze the genetics of this algal group. Although incomplete, these studies have suggested that dinoflagellates have an unusual meiotic process.