Rebecca J. Gast

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The 18S rRNA gene (Rns) phylogeny of Acanthamoeba is being investigated as a basis for improvements in the nomenclature and taxonomy of the genus. We previously analyzed Rns sequences from 18 isolates from morphological groups 2 and 3 and found that they fell into four distinct evolutionary lineages we called sequence types T1-T4. Here, we analyzed(More)
Protistan diversity was characterized at three locations in the western North Atlantic (Sargasso Sea and Gulf Stream) by sequencing 18S rRNA genes in samples from euphotic (< or = 125 m) and bathypelagic depths (2500 m). A total of 923 partial-length protistan sequences were analysed, revealing 324 distinct operational taxonomic units (OTUs) determined by(More)
Classification of Acanthamoeba at the subgenus level has been problematic, but increasing reports of Acanthamoeba as an opportunistic human pathogen have generated an interest in finding a more consistent basis for classification. Thus, we are developing a classification scheme based on RNA gene sequences. This first report is based on analysis of complete(More)
The diversity of protistan assemblages has traditionally been studied using microscopy and morphological characterization, but these methods are often inadequate for ecological studies of these communities because most small protists inherently lack adequate taxonomic characters to facilitate their identification at the species level and many protistan(More)
Cloning/sequencing and fragment analysis of ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA) are becoming increasingly common methods for the identification of microbial taxa. Sequences of these genes provide many additional taxonomic characters for species that otherwise have few distinctive morphological features, or that require involved microscopy or laboratory culture and(More)
The discovery of group I introns in small subunit nuclear rDNA (nsrDNA) is becoming more common as the effort to generate phylogenies based upon nsrDNA sequences grows. In this paper we describe the discovery of the first two group I introns in the nsrDNA from the genus Acanthamoeba. The introns are in different locations in the genes, and have no(More)
Photosynthetic dinoflagellates contain a diverse collection of plastid types, a situation believed to have arisen from multiple endosymbiotic events. In addition, a number of heterotrophic (phagotrophic) dinoflagellates possess the ability to acquire chloroplasts temporarily by engulfing algae and retaining their chloroplasts in a functional state. These(More)
Acanthamoeba is a genus of free-living amoebae, of which some species have been found to cause opportunistic infections in humans. The identification of these amoebae in natural and disease samples is based primarily upon morphological features. While these features are more than adequate for identification to the genus level, they are not useful for(More)
Surveillance of zoonotic pathogens in marine birds and mammals in the Northwest Atlantic revealed a diversity of zoonotic agents. We found amplicons to sequences from Brucella spp., Leptospira spp., Giardia spp. and Cryptosporidium spp. in both marine mammals and birds. Avian influenza was detected in a harp seal and a herring gull. Routine aerobic and(More)
The biodiversity of protistan assemblages present in microhabitats of the Ross Sea, Antarctica, was examined using molecular biological methods to obtain a greater understanding of the genetic diversity present. Sequencing of 18S clone libraries indicated genetically diverse collections of organisms in the water column, ice, and meltwater layer (slush), but(More)