Algae with three sexes found for the first time in Japan
Researchers from the University of Tokyo have discovered a new type of algae. These organisms differ from the rest in that they are divided not into two, but into three sexes. The new species was given the scientific name Pleodorina starrii, Evolution reports.
The term “algae” in the scientific community is used to refer to a huge group of different eukaryotic creatures that use photosynthesis for energy. It is believed that it was from them that all living things, including people, once originated. According to researchers, algae and humans are separated by about half a billion years of evolution.
The study notes that algae are very diverse. Among them there are both unicellular dinoflagellates and giant multicellular species.
Algae can reproduce both asexually, cloning themselves, and sexually, depending on the stage of the life cycle. There are also hermaphrodite algae, which can change depending on the expression of the organism's genes.
But the Pleodorina starrii species has a unique property: one of the forms of algae has both male and female reproductive cells. They are able to mate with both females and males, or with their own kind “bisexual”.
Scientists have suggested that such breeding patterns may represent an intermediate evolutionary stage. The study of algae can shed new light on the development of various species.
“Algae could really help us understand how the different reproductive systems, such as male and female, evolved in the first place,” reads the text of the scientific work.
Earlier it was reported that British scientists have discovered red algae. They turned out to be genetically unique.