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Protist. 2005 Dec;156(4):413-23. Epub 2005 Nov 2.

Phylogenetic position of the copepod-infesting parasite Syndinium turbo (Dinoflagellata, Syndinea).

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  • 1Departament de Biologia Marina i Oceanografia, Institut de Ciències del Mar, CSIC, Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta 37-49, 08003 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain.


Sequences were determined for the nuclear-encoded small subunit (SSU) rRNA and 5.8S rRNA genes as well as the internal transcribed spacers ITS1 and ITS2 of the parasitic dinoflagellate genus Syndinium from two different marine copepod hosts. Syndinium developed a multicellular plasmodium inside its host and at maturity free-swimming zoospores were released. Syndinium plasmodia in the copepod Paracalanus parvus produced zoospores of three different morphological types. However, full SSU rDNA sequences for the three morphotypes were 100% identical and also their ITS1-ITS2 sequences were identical except for four base pairs. It was concluded that the three morphotypes belong to a single species that was identified as Syndinium turbo, the type species of the dinoflagellate subdivision Syndinea. The SSU rDNA sequence of another Syndinium species infecting Corycaeus sp. was similar to Syndinium turbo except for three base pairs and the ITS1-ITS2 sequences of the two species differed at 34-35 positions. Phylogenetic analyses placed Syndinium as a sister taxon to the blue crab parasite Hematodinium sp. and both parasites were affiliated with the so-called marine alveolate Group II. This corroborates the hypothesis that marine alveolate Group II is Syndinea.

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