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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2003 May-Jun;50(3):190-7.

Molecular phylogeny of three oxymonad genera: Pyrsonympha, Dinenympha and Oxymonas.

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  • 1Bioscience Technology Center, RIKEN institute, 2-1, Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Oxymonads are a morphologically well-characterized and highly diverse lineage of protists. They are, however, under sampled at a molecular level. It has recently been demonstrated that a genus of oxymonads, Pyrsonympha, is phylogenetically related to the excavate taxon Trimastix. Here, we addressed issues of internal oxymonad evolution. Pyrsonympha and Dinenympha are shown, by fluorescent in situ hybridization and phylogenetic evidence, to be separate genera and not morphotypes of the same organism. We demonstrated that three genera of oxymonads, Dinenympha, Pyrsonympha, and Oxymonas are each monophyletic and together form a clade which excludes other known eukaryotes. We have presented a taxonomic scheme of oxymonads taking into account their sisterhood with Trimastix and speculated on morphological evolution of oxymonads, particularly of their attachment apparatuses. Our biogeographical analysis with Japanese and Canadian Pyrsonympha and Dinenympha suggests that these genera diverged before the separation of termites that inhabit Eastern Asia and Western North America.

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