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Keywords:

  • euglenoids;
  • Euglenozoa;
  • molecular phylogeny;
  • 18S rRNA

18S rRNA genes (SSU rDNA) of five newly sequenced species were used as molecular markers to infer phylogenetic relationships within the euglenoids. Two members of the order Euglenales (Lepocinclis ovata Playfair, Phacus similis Christen), two of the order Eutreptiales (Distigma proteus Ehrenberg,, D. curvata Pringsheim) and Gyropaigne lefévrei Bourelly et Georges of the order Rhabdomonadales were used in parsimony, maximum likelihood, and distance analyses. All trees derived from SSU rRNA data strongly supported the monophyletic origin of the Euglenozoa, with kinetoplastids as sister clade to the euglenoids and Petalomonas cantuscygni Cann et Pennick diverging at the base of the monophyletic euglenoid lineage. The data also supported the theory that phagotrophic euglenoids arose prior to osmotrophs and phototrophs. A lineage of Peranema trichophorum Ehrenberg and all sequenced Euglenales formed a sister clade to the osmotrophs. This suggests that the evolution of phototrophy within the euglenoids radiated from a single event.