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Vol. xx, No. xx, 2006, Pages: 1–10

The Phylogenetic Position of the Oxymonad Saccinobaculus Based on SSU rRNA

Aaron A. Heiss, and Patrick J. Keeling1

Botany Department, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, University of British Columbia,
3529-6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6 T 1Z4.


The oxymonads are a group of structurally complex anaerobic flagellates about which we know very little. They are found in association with complex microbial communities in the guts of animals. There are five recognized families of oxymonads; molecular data have been acquired for four of these. Here, we describe the first molecular data from the last remaining group, represented by Saccinobaculus, an organism that is found exclusively in the hindgut of the wood-eating cockroach Cryptocercus. We sequenced small subunit ribosomal RNA (SSU rRNA) from total gut DNA to describe Saccinobaculus SSU rRNA diversity. We also sequenced SSU rRNA from manually isolated cells of the two most abundant and readily identifiable species: the type species Saccinobaculus ambloaxostylus and the taxonomically contentious Saccinobaculus doroaxostylus. We inferred phylogenetic trees including all five known oxymonad subgroups in order to elucidate the internal phylogeny of this poorly studied group, to resolve some outstanding issues of the taxonomy and identification of certain Saccinobaculus species, and to investigate the evolution of character states within it. Our analysis recovered strong support for the existence of the five subgroups of oxymonads, and consistently united the subgroups containing Monocercomonoides and Streblomastix, but was unable to resolve any further higher-order branching patterns.

Keywords: oxymonad; phylogeny; SSU rRNA; symbiont;Saccinobaculus doroaxostylus;Saccinobaculus ambloaxostylus;Monocercomonoides;Streblomastix;taxonomy.

Corresponding author: Tel.: ; Fax: 1 604 822 6089

E-mail: pkeeling@interchange.ubc.ca (P.J. Keeling)


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