Phylogeny of deep-level relationships within Euglenozoa based on combined small subunit and large subunit ribosomal DNA sequences
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My master’s research addressed questions about the evolutionary histories of Euglenozoa, with special attention given to deep-level relationships among taxa. The Euglenozoa are a putative early-branching assemblage of flagellated Eukaryotes, comprised primarily by three subgroups: euglenids, kinetoplastids and diplonemids. The goals of my research were to 1) evaluate the phylogenetic potential of large subunit ribosomal DNA (LSU rDNA) gene sequences as a molecular marker; 2) construct a phylogeny for the Euglenozoa to address their deep-level relationships; 3) provide morphological data of the flagellate Petalomonas cantuscygni to infer its evolutionary position in Euglenozoa. A dataset based on LSU rDNA sequences combined with SSU rDNA from thirty-nine taxa representing every subgroup of Euglenozoa and outgroup species was used for testing relationships within the Euglenozoa. Our results indicate that a) LSU rDNA is a useful marker to infer phylogeny, b) euglenids and diplonemdis are more closely related to one another than either is to the kinetoplatids and c) Petalomonas cantuscygni is closely related to the diplonemids.