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Keywords:

  • Characium;
  • Chlorococcales;
  • Chlorophyceae;
  • Chlorophyta;
  • flagellar apparatus;
  • Neochloris;
  • ribosomal RNA

ABSTRACT

Alternative evolutionary hypotheses generated from features of vegetative cell morphology and motile cell ultra-structure were investigated using a molecular data set. Complete nuclear-encoded small subunit (18S) ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene sequences were determined for six species (three each) of the chlorococcalean green algae “Neo chloris” and Characium. Based on motile cell ultra-structure, it was previously shown that both genera could be separated into three distinct groups possibly representing three separate orders and two classes of green algae. 18S rRNA gene sequences were also obtained for three additional taxa, Dunaliella parva Lerche, Pediastrum duplex Meyen, and Friedmannia israelensis Chantanachat and Bold. These organisms were selected because each, in turn, is a representative of one of the three ultrastructural groups into which the Neochloris and Characium species are separable. Phylogenetic analyses utilizing the molecular data fully support the ultrastructural findings, suggesting that the similar vegetative cell morphologies observed in these organisms have resulted from convergence.