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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 2009 Jan-Feb;56(1):16-25. doi: 10.1111/j.1550-7408.2008.00379.x.

Untangling the phylogeny of amoeboid protists.

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  • 1Department of Zoology and Animal Biology, University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.


The amoebae and amoeboid protists form a large and diverse assemblage of eukaryotes characterized by various types of pseudopodia. For convenience, the traditional morphology-based classification grouped them together in a macrotaxon named Sarcodina. Molecular phylogenies contributed to the dismantlement of this assemblage, placing the majority of sarcodinids into two new supergroups: Amoebozoa and Rhizaria. In this review, we describe the taxonomic composition of both supergroups and present their small subunit rDNA-based phylogeny. We comment on the advantages and weaknesses of these phylogenies and emphasize the necessity of taxon-rich multigene datasets to resolve phylogenetic relationships within Amoebozoa and Rhizaria. We show the importance of environmental sequencing as a way of increasing taxon sampling in these supergroups. Finally, we highlight the interest of Amoebozoa and Rhizaria for understanding eukaryotic evolution and suggest that resolving their phylogenies will be among the main challenges for future phylogenomic analyses.

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