BACKGROUND:Diatoms play a great role in carbon fixation with about 20% of the whole fixation in the world. However, harmful algal bloom as known as red tide is a major problem in environment and fishery industry. Even though intensive studies have been conducted so far, the molecular mechanism behind harmful algal bloom was not fully understood. There are two major diatoms have been sequenced, but more diatoms should be examined at the whole genome level, and evolutionary genome studies were required to understand the landscape of molecular mechanism of the harmful algal bloom. RESULTS:Here we sequenced the genome of Skeletonema costatum, which is the dominant diatom in Japan causing a harmful algal bloom, and also performed RNA-sequencing analysis for conditions where harmful algal blooms often occur. As results, we found that both evolutionary genomic and comparative transcriptomic studies revealed genes for oxidative stress response and response to cytokinin is a key for the proliferation of the diatom. CONCLUSIONS:Diatoms causing harmful algal blooms have gained multi-copy of genes related to oxidative stress response and response to cytokinin and obtained an ability to intensive gene expression at the blooms.