Phylogenetic relationships within the class Oligohymenophorea, phylum Ciliophora, inferred from the complete small subunit rRNA gene sequences of Colpidium campylum, Glaucoma chattoni, and Opisthonecta henneguyi.
Phylogenetic relationships within the class Oligohymenophorea, phylum Ciliophora, were investigated by determining the complete small subunit rRNA (SSrRNA) gene sequences for the hymenostomes Colpidium campylum, Glaucoma chattoni, and the peritrich Opisthonecta henneguyi. The affiliations of the oligohymenophoreans were assessed using both distance matrix (DM) and maximum parsimony (MP) analyses. Variations do exist in the phylogenies created by the two methods. However, the basic tree topologies are consistent. In both the DM and MP analyses the hymenostomes (C. campylum, G. chattoni, and the tetrahymenas) all form a very tight group associated with the peritrich O. henneguyi. The Tetrahymena lineage was monophyletic whereas Colpidium and Glaucoma were more closely related to each other than either was to the tetrahymenas. The monophyly of the genus Tetrahymena in the present analysis supports the phylogenies determined from morphological data and molecular sequence data from the histone H3II/H4II region of the genome. The perplexing and controversial phylogenetic position of the peritrichs is once again depicted in the present analysis. The distinctiveness of the peritrich Opisthonecta from both hymenostome and nassophorean ciliates based on evolutionary distances suggests that the elevation of the peritrichs to a higher taxonomic rank should be reconsidered.