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Keywords:

  • Discoplastis;
  • euglenoid;
  • Euglenophyta;
  • phylogeny;
  • systematics

A Bayesian analysis, utilizing a combined data set developed from the small subunit (SSU) and large subunit (LSU) rDNA gene sequences, was used to resolve relationships and clarify generic boundaries among 84 strains of plastid-containing euglenophytes representing 11 genera. The analysis produced a tree with three major clades: a Phacus and Lepocinlis clade, a Discoplastis clade, and a Euglena, Colacium, Trachelomonas, Strombomonas, Monomorphina, and Cryptoglena clade. The majority of the species in the genus Euglena formed a well-supported clade, but two species formed a separate clade near the base of the tree. A new genus, Discoplastis, was erected to accommodate these taxa, thus making the genus Euglena monophyletic. The analysis also supported the monophyly of Colacium, Trachelomonas, Strombomonas, Monomorphina, and Cryptoglena, which formed two subclades sister to the Euglena clade. Colacium, Trachelomonas, and Strombomonas, all of which produce copious amounts of mucilage to form loricas or mucilaginous stalks, formed a well-supported lineage. Our analysis supported retaining Strombomonas and Trachelomonas as separate genera. Monomorphina and Cryptoglena formed two well-supported clades that were sister to the Colacium, Trachelomonas, and Strombomonas clade. Phacus and Lepocinclis, both of which have numerous small discoid chloroplasts without pyrenoids and lack peristaltic euglenoid movement (metaboly), formed a well-supported monophyletic lineage that was sister to the larger Euglena through Cryptoglena containing clade. This study demonstrated that increased taxon sampling, multiple genes, and combined data sets provided increased support for internal nodes on the euglenoid phylogenetic tree and resolved relationships among the major genera in the photosynthetic euglenoid lineage.