Cryogenian evolution of stigmasteroid biosynthesis

Sedimentary hydrocarbon remnants of eukaryotic C-26-C-30 sterols can be used to reconstruct early algal evolution. Enhanced C-29 sterol abundances provide algal cellmembranes a density advantage in large temperature fluctuations. Here, we combined a literature review with new analyses to generate a comprehensive inventory of unambiguously syngenetic steranes in Neoproterozoic rocks. Our results show that the capacity for C-29 24ethyl- sterol biosynthesis emerged in the Cryogenian, that is, between 720 and 635 million years ago during the Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth glaciations, which were an evolutionary stimulant, not a bottleneck. This biochemical innovation heralded the rise of green algae to global dominance of marine ecosystems and highlights the environmental drivers for the evolution of sterol biosynthesis. The Cryogenian emergence of C-29 sterol biosynthesis places benchmark for verifying older sterane signatures and sets a new framework for our understanding of early algal evolution.

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Supplementary Text, Figures, Legend for Table S1, Table S2, References
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Table S1 Steranes in Neoproterozoic rocks.
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Hoshino Yosuke, Poshibaeva Aleksandra, Meredith William, Snape Colin, Poshibaev Vladimir, Versteegh Gerard J. M., Kuznetsov Nikolay, Leider Arne, Van Maldegem Lennart, Neumann Mareike, Naeher Sebastian, Moczydlowska Malgorzata, Brocks Jochen J., Jarrett Amber J. M., Tang Qing, Xiao Shuhai, McKirdy David, Das Supriyo Kumar, Alvaro Jose Javier, Sansjofre Pierre, Hallmann Christian (2017). Cryogenian evolution of stigmasteroid biosynthesis. Science Advances. 3 (9). e1700887 (8p.).,

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