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Contact: Richard Hund
American Journal of Botany

Representative Diverse Origins of Multicellularity

Caption: Representative diverse origins of multicellularity are shown on a highly redacted and unrooted phylogenetic diagram of the major eukaryotic clades (modified from a variety of sources). Although some lineages or clades are entirely unicellular or multicellular (e.g., lobose amoeba and the land plants, respectively), most contain a mixture of body plans such as the unicellular and colonial body plans (e.g., choanoflagellates) or a mixture of the unicellular, colonial, and multicellular body plans (e.g., ciliates and stramenopiles). In general, early-divergent persistent (EDP) lineages are dominated by unicellular species (e.g., prasinophytes in the chlorobiontic clade), whereas later-divergent lineages contain a mixture of body plans (e.g., chlorophycean and charophycean algae). Species-rich, late-divergent persistent (LDP) lineages tend to be exclusively multicellular (e.g., the land plants and metazoans).

Credit: Courtesy of Karl Niklas.

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Related news release: From one cell to many: How did multicellularity evolve?

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