On the evolution of the karyorelict ciliate life cycle: heterophasic ciliates and the origin of ciliate binary fission.


Karyorelict ciliates have near diploid somatic nuclei (macronuclei) incapable of division. If selective pressure favors nuclear division, how could such macronuclei have evolved? I propose that they initially evolved in the context of a diplophase stage that consisted entirely of a non-dividing trophont that was terminated by the induction of meiosis. The… (More)