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Phylogenomic analyses support the monophyly of Excavata and resolve relationships among eukaryotic “supergroups”

By Vladimir Hampl, Laura Hug, Jessica W. Leigh, Joel B. Dacks, B. Franz Lang, Alastair G. B. Simpson and Andrew J. Roger


Nearly all of eukaryotic diversity has been classified into 6 suprakingdom-level groups (supergroups) based on molecular and morphological/cell-biological evidence; these are Opisthokonta, Amoebozoa, Archaeplastida, Rhizaria, Chromalveolata, and Excavata. However, molecular phylogeny has not provided clear evidence that either Chromalveolata or Excavata is monophyletic, nor has it resolved the relationships among the supergroups. To establish the affinities of Excavata, which contains parasites of global importance and organisms regarded previously as primitive eukaryotes, we conducted a phylogenomic analysis of a dataset of 143 proteins and 48 taxa, including 19 excavates. Previous phylogenomic studies have not included all major subgroups of Excavata, and thus have not definitively addressed their interrelationships. The enigmatic flagellate Andalucia is sister to typical jakobids. Jakobids (including Andalucia), Euglenozoa and Heterolobosea form a major clade that we name Discoba. Analyses of the complete dataset group Discoba with the mitochondrion-lacking excavates or “metamonads” (diplomonads, parabasalids, and Preaxostyla), but not with the final excavate group, Malawimonas. This separation likely results from a long-branch attraction artifact. Gradual removal of rapidly-evolving taxa from the dataset leads to moderate bootstrap support (69%) for the monophyly of all Excavata, and 90% support once all metamonads are removed. Most importantly, Excavata robustly emerges between unikonts (Amoebozoa + Opisthokonta) and “megagrouping” of Archaeplastida, Rhizaria, and chromalveolates. Our analyses indicate that Excavata forms a monophyletic suprakingdom-level group that is one of the 3 primary divisions within eukaryotes, along with unikonts and a megagroup of Archaeplastida, Rhizaria, and the chromalveolate lineages

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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