What is Ectocarpus?

Ectocarpus is a genus of filamentous, marine brown algae. Brown algae belong to the stramenopiles, a large supergroup of organisms that are only distantly related to animals, land plants and fungi. Brown algae are also one of only a small number of eukaryotic lineages that have evolved complex multicellularity. For many years, little information was available concerning the molecular mechanisms underlying multicellular development in the brown algae, but this situation has changed with the emergence of Ectocarpus as a model brown alga. Ectocarpus is amenable to the genomic and genetic approaches that have proved to be so powerful in more classical model organisms such as Drosophila and Arabidopsis. 

Further reading:

Coelho SM, Muller D, Peters A, Cock JM (2020) Ectocarpus, an emerging evo-devo model organism. Evo-devo Journal (in press)

Coelho SM, Cock JM (2020) Brown algal model organisms. Ann. Review Genetics (in press)

Cock, JM, Godfroy, O, Strittmatter, M, Scornet, D, Uji, T, Farnham, G, Peters, AF, Coelho, SM (2014). Emergence of Ectocarpus as a model system to study the evolution of complex multicellularity in the brown algae. In: Evolutionary transitions to multicellular life. Ruiz-Trillo, I. and Nedelcu, A.M. (eds) Springer, Dordrecht.