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PHYLOGENY OF DINOFLAGELLATES BASED ON MITOCHONDRIAL CYTOCHROME B AND NUCLEAR SMALL SUBUNIT RDNA SEQUENCE COMPARISONS

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  • 1Received 13 September 2004. Accepted 31 December 2004.

Abstract

Despite their evolutionary and ecological importance, dinoflagellate phylogeny remains poorly resolved. Here we explored the utility of mitochondrial cytochrome b (cob) in inferring a dinoflagellate tree and focused on resolving the relationship between fucoxanthin-and peridinin-containing taxa. Trees were inferred using cob and small subunit rDNA alone or in combination as concatenated data and including members of the six major dinoflagellate orders. Many regions of the cob DNA or protein and rDNA trees were congruent with support for the monophyly of Symbiodinium spp. Freudenthal and of the Prorocentrales and the early divergence of Crypthecodinium cohnii Seligo in Grasse. However, these markers provided differing support for the monophyly of Pfiesteria spp. Steidinger et Burkholder (only supported strongly by rDNA) and of the fucoxanthin dinoflagellates with Akashiwo sp. (Hirasaka) Hansen et Moestrup (Gymnodiniales, only supported strongly by the cob data). The approximately unbiased (AU) test was used to assess these results using 13-and 11-taxon (excluding apicomplexans) backbone maximum likelihood trees inferred from the combined cob+rDNA data. The AU test suggested that our data were insufficient to resolve the phylogenetic position of Symbiodinium spp. and that the ancestral position of C. cohnii might have resulted from long-branch attraction to the apicomplexan outgroup. We found significant support, however, for the association of fucoxanthin dinoflagellates with Akashiwo sp. The monophyly and relatively derived position of the Gymnodiniales in our cob DNA and protein trees and in the cob+rDNA tree is consistent with the tertiary endosymbiotic origin of the plastid in fucoxanthin dinoflagellates.

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