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J Mol Evol. 1995 Nov;41(5):637-45.

Revised dinoflagellate phylogeny inferred from molecular analysis of large-subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences.

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  • 1Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular IV, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Compleutense de Madrid, Spain.


The nucleotide sequence analysis of the PCR products corresponding to the variable large-subunit rRNA domains D1, D2, D9, and D10 from ten representative dinoflagellate species is reported. Species were selected among the main laboratory-grown dinoflagellate groups: Prorocentrales, Gymnodiniales, and Peridiniales which comprise a variety of morphological and ecological characteristics. The sequence alignments comprising up to 1,000 nucleotides from all ten species were employed to analyze the phylogenetic relationships among these dinoflagellates. Maximum parsimony and neighbor-joining trees were inferred from the data generated and subsequently tested by bootstrapping. Both the D1/D2 and the D9/D10 regions led to coherent trees in which the main class of dinoflagellates. Dinophyceae, is divided in three groups: prorocentroid, gymnodinioid, and peridinioid. An interesting outcome from the molecular phylogeny obtained was the uncertain emergence of Prorocentrum lima. The molecular results reported agreed with morphological classifications within Peridiniales but not with those of Prorocentrales and Gymnodiniales. Additionally, the sequence comparison analysis provided strong evidence to suggest that Alexandrium minutum and Alexandrium lusitanicum were synonymous species given the identical sequence they shared. Moreover, clone Gg1V, which was determined Gymnodinium catenatum based on morphological criteria, would correspond to a new species of the genus Gymnodinium as its sequence clearly differed from that obtained in G. catenatum. The sequence of the amplified fragments was demonstrated to be a valuable tool for phylogenetic and taxonomical analysis among these highly diversified species.

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