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Microsporidia branch at the base of eukaryotic phylogenies inferred from translation elongation factor 1alpha (EF-1alpha) sequences. Because these parasitic eukaryotes are fungi (or close relatives of fungi), it is widely accepted that fast-evolving microsporidian sequences are artifactually "attracted" to the long branch leading to the archaebacterial(More)
It has long been recognized that the rates of molecular evolution vary amongst sites in proteins. The usual model for rate heterogeneity assumes independent rate variation according to a rate distribution. In such models the rate at a site, although random, is assumed fixed throughout the evolutionary tree. Recent work by several groups has suggested that(More)
It is generally accepted that new genes arise via duplication and functional divergence of existing genes, in accordance with Ohno's model, now called "Mutation During Redundancy," or MDR. In this model, one of the two gene copies is free to acquire novel (although likely related) activities through mutation, since only one copy is required for its original(More)
In 1985, we reported that a bacterium, Mycoplasma capricolum, used a deviant genetic code, namely UGA, a "universal" stop codon, was read as tryptophan. This finding, together with the deviant nuclear genetic codes in not a few organisms and a number of mitochondria, shows that the genetic code is not universal, and is in a state of evolution. To account(More)
The unicellular eukaryotic assemblage Discoba (Excavata) comprises four lineages: the Heterolobosea, Euglenozoa, Jakobida, and Tsukubamonadida. Discoba has been considered as a key assemblage for understanding the early evolution of mitochondrial (mt) genomes, as jakobids retain the most gene-rich (i.e., primitive) genomes compared with any other eukaryotes(More)
In theory, codon models that account for the dependence of nucleotide substitutions between codon positions as well as differences between synonymous and non-synonymous changes best describe the sequence evolution in protein coding genes. However, in practice we know little about the degree to which violations of the assumptions of codon model-based(More)
Understanding the early evolution and diversification of eukaryotes relies on a fully resolved phylogenetic tree. In recent years, most eukaryotic diversity has been assigned to six putative supergroups, but the evolutionary origin of a few major "orphan" lineages remains elusive. Two ecologically important orphan groups are the heterotrophic Telonemia and(More)
Cryptomonad algae acquired their plastids by the secondary endosymbiotic uptake of a eukaryotic red alga. Several other algal lineages acquired plastids through such an event [1], but cryptomonads are distinguished by the retention of a relic red algal nucleus, the nucleomorph [2]. The nucleomorph (and its absence in other lineages) can reveal a great deal(More)
Spliceosomal introns are hallmarks of most eukaryotic genomes and are excised from premature mRNAs by a spliceosome that is among the largest, and most complex, molecular machine in cells. The divergent unicellular eukaryote Giardia intestinalis, the causative agent of giardiasis, also possesses spliceosomes, but only four canonical (cis-spliced) introns(More)
Over the last 15 years classical culturing and environmental PCR techniques have revealed a modest number of genuinely new major lineages of protists; however, some new groups have greatly influenced our understanding of eukaryote evolution. We used culturing techniques to examine the diversity of free-living protists that are relatives of diplomonads and(More)