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A new genus of athecate interstitial dinoflagellates, Togula gen. nov., previously encompassed within Amphidinium sensu lato: Inferred from light and electron microscopy and phylogenetic analyses of partial large subunit ribosomal DNA sequences

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The recent emendation of Amphidinium (Dinophyceae), which now only consists of species with minute left-deflected epicone, has left more than 100 species without a clear generic affiliation. In the present study, a strain identified as one of the species with a divergent epicone type, Amphidinium britannicum (Herdman) Lebour, and six strains resembling A. britannicum but smaller in size were examined by light, scanning and transmission electron microscopy and by sequence analyses of nuclear-encoded partial large subunit ribosomal DNA to establish their phylogeny. Amphidinium britannicum was not closely related to other genera included in the molecular phylogenetic analyses, but formed a highly supported clade in Bayesian analysis together with the six small-sized strains. The six strains also formed a highly supported clade, consisting of two closely related, albeit distinct, clades. Light and scanning electron microscopy did not reveal significant differences between the vegetative motile cells; however, cells about to undergo mitosis developed longitudinal grooves on the hypocone in one of the clades but not in the other. Both clades differed substantially from A. britannicum in partial large subunit ribosomal DNA as well as in size and shape. Based on morphological similarity and partial large subunit ribosomal DNA evidence, we erect the new genus, Togula gen. nov. with the emended type species Togula britannica (Herdman) comb. nov. Based on differences in division pattern and partial large subunit ribosomal DNA gene divergence we further describe the species Togula compacta (Herdman) comb. nov. and Togula jolla sp. nov.
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Keywords: Amphidinium; Amphidinium britannicum; Dinophyceae; Togula; Togula britannica; Togula compacta; Togula jolla; large subunit ribosomal DNA gene

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Phycology, Biological Institute, Øster Farimagsgade 2D, University of Copenhagen, 1353 Copenhagen K, Denmark 2: Protsville, School of Biological Sciences, Heydon-Laurence Building A08, University of Sydney, NSW, 2006, Australia

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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