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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Mar 1986; 83(5): 1383–1387.
PMCID: PMC323080

Evolutionary diversity of eukaryotic small-subunit rRNA genes.


The small-subunit rRNA gene sequences of the flagellated protists Euglena gracilis and Trypanosoma brucei were determined and compared to those of other eukaryotes. A phylogenetic tree was constructed in which the earliest branching among the eukaryotes is represented by E. gracilis. The E. gracilis divergence far antedates a period of massive evolutionary radiation that gave rise to the plants, animals, fungi, and certain groups of protists such as ciliates and the acanthamoebae. The genetic diversity in this collection of eukaryotes is seen to exceed that displayed within either the eubacterial or the archaebacterial lines of descent.

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