Molecular systematics of ciliates, particularly at deep nodes, has largely focused on increasing taxon sampling using the nuclear small subunit rDNA (nSSU-rDNA) locus. These previous analyses have generally been congruent with morphologically-based classifications, although there is extensive non-monophyly at many levels. However, caution is needed in interpreting these results as nSSU-rDNA is just a single molecular marker. Here the mitochondrial small subunit rDNA (mtSSU-rDNA) is evaluated for deep ciliate nodes using the Colpodea as an example. Overall, well-supported nodes in the mtSSU-rDNA and concatenated topologies are well supported in the nSSU-rDNA topology; e.g., the non-monophyly of the Cyrtolophosidida. The two moderately- to well-supported incongruences between the loci are the placement of the Sorogenida and Colpoda aspera. Our analyses of mtSSU-rDNA support the conclusion, originally derived from nSSU-rDNA, that the morphological characters used in taxonomic circumscriptions of the Colpodea represent a mixture of ancestral and derived states. This demonstration of the efficacy of the mtSSU-rDNA will enable phylogenetic reconstructions of deep nodes in the ciliate tree of life to move from a single-locus to a multi-locus approach.
Ciliophora, Colpodea, Mitochondrial SSU-rDNA, Nuclear SSU-rDNA, Phylogeny
© 2010 Elsevier GmbH.
Dunthorn, Micah; Foissner, Wilhelm; and Katz, Laura A., "Expanding Character Sampling for Ciliate Phylogenetic Inference Using Mitochondrial SSU-rDNA as a Molecular Marker" (2011). Biological Sciences: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.