• carotenoids;
  • Eudorina;
  • ITS sequences;
  • loroxanthin;
  • phylogeny;
  • syngens;
  • Volvocales

Phylogenetic analyses of 19 strains representing five species of Eudorina, one strain of Pleodorina indica, and seven strains of Yamagishiella unicocca were carried out by sequencing the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS 1 and ITS 2) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) repeats. The sequence data resolved five phylogenetic groups, one consisting of Y. unicocca and the other four encompassing all the Eudorina species. Two isolates, Eudorina sp. (ASW 05157) and Pleodorina indica (ASW 05153), were of uncertain affiliation. Whereas one monophyletic group included strains of E. elegans only, the other strains of E. elegans appeared alongside E. cylindrica, E. illinoisensis, and E. unicocca var. unicocca in the other Eudorina clades. The distribution pattern of the carotenoid loroxanthin ([3R,3′R,6′R]-β,ε-carotene-3,19,3′-triol), a systematically useful biochemical marker within chlorophycean flagellates, was shown to match the evaluated molecular data. Whereas it was either totally absent or universally present in six of the deduced phylogenetic lines, it occurred randomly in the E. elegans clade containing only E. elegans isolates. The results substantiated the current hypothesis that the unique vegetative morphology of E. elegans has independently arisen at various times during evolution and that it is not a marker of a monophyletic group.