Whole-genome shotgun sequence data from three individual cells isolated from seawater, followed by analysis of ribosomal DNA, indicated that the cells represented three divergent clades of picobiliphytes. In contrast with the recent description of this phylum, we found no evidence of plastid DNA nor of nuclear-encoded plastid-targeted proteins, which suggests that these picobiliphytes are heterotrophs. Genome data from one cell were dominated by sequences from a widespread single-stranded DNA virus. This virus was absent from the other two cells, both of which contained non-eukaryote DNA derived from marine Bacteroidetes and large DNA viruses. By using shotgun sequencing of uncultured marine picobiliphytes, we revealed the distinct interactions of individual cells.
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