Phylogenetic Placement of the Arthropod Endosymbiont Paramoebidium, the Largest Genus of the Amoebidiales

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Student Presentation

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Merlin White


Recently a revolution in our understanding of both early diverging fungi and protists has been realized with phylogenetic systematic studies that are better resolved with multigene analyses and broadened taxon sampling. This study aims to enhance our understanding of one of the earliest-diverging protist groups to become multicellular, specifically targeting the Paramoebidium, a genus that represents, in an evolutionary context, a significant but understudied lineage of arthropods endosymbionts. Target genes will be amplified and sequenced with a multigene approach to phylogenetically place Paramoebidium among its extant relatives. Other than expanded taxon sampling within Paramoebidium this study will lead to a better understanding of some of our earliest animal ancestors and in this case, evolutionary patterns with their hosts as well as an assessment of possible cryptic speciation. This project also will specifically test new PCR primers that could enhance the broader scientific community’s ability to employ them as molecular markers for these and other early diverging protist linages.

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