Author(s): Keeling PJ, Brugerolle G
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Abstract Octomitus intestinalis is a diplomonad flagellate inhabiting the digestive tract of rodents and amphibians. Octomitus is of evolutionary interest because, based on ultrastructural characteristics, it is thought to be closely related to the morphologically derived genus Giardia, and together they have been proposed to make up the Giardiinae. In molecular trees of diplomonads, Giardia is the deepest branching lineage, so identifying a sister group to Giardia that is less derived would be informative. Octomitus is a logical candidate for this position, but unfortunately there are no molecular data from it, and it is not available in culture. To determine the position of Octomitus, and specifically test whether it is more closely related to Giardia than other diplomonads, we have isolated it directly from the caecum of wild mice and characterized its small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) gene. Phylogenetic analysis showed Octomitus to be the sister to Giardia with strong support, together occupying one side of the deepest split in the diplomonad tree.
This article was published in Protist
and referenced in Journal of Aquaculture Research & Development