Comparison of the evolutionary distances among syngens and sibling species of Paramecium

Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution
Manabu HoriMasahiro Fujishima


The morphospecies of the genus Paramecium have several mating type groups, so-called syngens, composed of cells of complementary mating types. The Paramecium aurelia complex is composed of 15 sibling species assigned to the species from the syngen. To increase our understanding of the evolutionary relationships among syngen and sibling species of the genus Paramecium, we investigated the gene sequences of cytosol-type hsp70 from 7 syngens of Paramecium caudatum and 15 sibling species of P. aurelia. Molecular phylogenetic trees indicated that the P. aurelia complex could be divided into four lineages and separated into each sibling species. However, we did not find any obvious genetic distance among syngens of P. caudatum, and they could only be separated into two closely related groups. These results indicated that the concept of syngens in P. caudatum differs quite markedly from that of the P. aurelia complex. In addition, we also discuss the relationships among these species and other species, Paramecium jenningsi and Paramecium multimicronucleatum, which were once classified as varieties of P. aurelia.


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