A genetic marker to separate Emiliania huxleyi (Prymnesiophyceae) morphotypes

Declan C. Schroeder, Gaia F. Biggi, Matthew Hall, Joanne Davy, Joaquín Martínez Martínez, Anthony J. Richardson, Gillian Malin, William H. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Emiliania huxleyi (Lohm.) Hay and Mohler is a ubiquitous unicellular marine alga surrounded by an elaborate covering of calcite platelets called coccoliths. It is an important primary producer involved in oceanic biogeochemistry and climate regulation. Currently, E. huxleyi is separated into five morphotypes based on morphometric, physiological, biochemical, and immunological differences. However, a genetic marker has yet to be found to characterize these morphotypes. With the use of sequence analysis and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, we discovered a genetic marker that correlates significantly with the separation of the most widely recognized A and B morphotypes. Furthermore, we reveal that the A morphotype is composed of a number of distinct genotypes. This marker lies within the 3′ untranslated region of a coccolith associated protein mRNA, which is implicated in regulating coccolith calcification. Consequently, we tentatively termed this marker the coccolith morphology motif.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)874-879
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Phycology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005


  • Calcification
  • Calcium binding protein
  • Coccolith morphotypes
  • Coccolithophore
  • Coccoliths
  • Emiliania huxleyi


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