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Eur J Protistol. 2013 May;49(2):115-78. doi: 10.1016/j.ejop.2012.06.001. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

Early evolution of eukaryote feeding modes, cell structural diversity, and classification of the protozoan phyla Loukozoa, Sulcozoa, and Choanozoa.

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Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, UK.


I discuss how different feeding modes and related cellular structures map onto the eukaryote evolutionary tree. Centrally important for understanding eukaryotic cell diversity are Loukozoa: ancestrally biciliate phagotrophic protozoa possessing a posterior cilium and ventral feeding groove into which ciliary currents direct prey. I revise their classification by including all anaerobic Metamonada as a subphylum and adding Tsukubamonas. Loukozoa, often with ciliary vanes, are probably ancestral to all protozoan phyla except Euglenozoa and Percolozoa and indirectly to kingdoms Animalia, Fungi, Plantae, and Chromista. I make a new protozoan phylum Sulcozoa comprising subphyla Apusozoa (Apusomonadida, Breviatea) and Varisulca (Diphyllatea; Planomonadida, Discocelida, Mantamonadida; Rigifilida). Understanding sulcozoan evolution clarifies the origins from them of opisthokonts (animals, fungi, Choanozoa) and Amoebozoa, and their evolutionary novelties; Sulcozoa and their descendants (collectively called podiates) arguably arose from Loukozoa by evolving posterior ciliary gliding and pseudopodia in their ventral groove. I explain subsequent independent cytoskeletal modifications, accompanying further shifts in feeding mode, that generated Amoebozoa, Choanozoa, and fungi. I revise classifications of Choanozoa, Conosa (Amoebozoa), and basal fungal phylum Archemycota. I use Choanozoa, Sulcozoa, Loukozoa, and Archemycota to emphasize the need for simply classifying ancestral (paraphyletic) groups and illustrate advantages of this for understanding step-wise phylogenetic advances.

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