Origins of Multicellularity Database

Allomyces macrogynus ATCC 38327

Phylogenetic tree

The Origins of Multicellularity project database provides access to multiple genomes sequenced to investigate commonalities and differences underlying multicellularity in animals and fungi. To understand the origins of multicellularity and animal-specific gene families relevant to human development, health and complex diseases, these features need to be tracked to their ancestral unicellular eukaryotes (protists). The project aims at filling, in a systematic manner, crucial gaps in the understanding of animal and fungal evolution, thus providing comprehensive data with which to conduct meaningful comparative genomic analyses of animals, fungi and their unicellular relatives.

Project Information

Genomes being sequenced include Chytrid fungi Allomyces macrogynus and Spizellomyces punctatus; Zygomycete fungus Mortierella verticillata; Unicellular eukaryotes Amoebidium parasiticum and Sphaeroforma arctica; Amoeboid symbiont Capsaspora owczarzaki; Bacteriovorous flagellated protist Thecamonas trahens [formerly known as Amastigomonas sp. ATCC 50062]; Choanoflagellate Salpingoeca rosetta [formerly known as Proterospongia sp. ATCC 50818]; and Amoeba Nuclearia simplex. The Origins of Multicellularity Project was funded by the NHGRI and is described in a white paper and a recent publication.


Primary collaborators for the project are:

  • Gertraud Burger (University of Montreal, Canada)
  • Michael W. Gray (Dalhousie University, Canada)
  • Peter Holland, (University of Oxford, UK)
  • Nicole King (University of California Berkeley, USA)
  • B. Franz Lang (University of Montreal, Canada)
  • Andrew Roger (Dalhousie University, Canada)
  • Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo (University of Barcelona, Spain)