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Data from: Hemimastigophora is a novel supra-kingdom-level lineage of Eukaryotes

Cite this dataset

Lax, Gordon et al. (2019). Data from: Hemimastigophora is a novel supra-kingdom-level lineage of Eukaryotes [Dataset]. Dryad.


Almost all eukaryote life forms have now been placed within one of five to eight supra-kingdom-level groups using molecular phylogenetics1,2,3,4. The ‘phylum’ Hemimastigophora is probably the most distinctive morphologically defined lineage that still awaits such a phylogenetic assignment. First observed in the nineteenth century, hemimastigotes are free-living predatory protists with two rows of flagella and a unique cell architecture5,6,7; to our knowledge, no molecular sequence data or cultures are currently available for this group. Here we report phylogenomic analyses based on high-coverage, cultivation-independent transcriptomics that place Hemimastigophora outside of all established eukaryote supergroups. They instead comprise an independent supra-kingdom-level lineage that most likely forms a sister clade to the ‘Diaphoretickes’ half of eukaryote diversity (that is, the ‘stramenopiles, alveolates and Rhizaria’ supergroup (Sar), Archaeplastida and Cryptista, as well as other major groups). The previous ranking of Hemimastigophora as a phylum understates the evolutionary distinctiveness of this group, which has considerable importance for investigations into the deep-level evolutionary history of eukaryotic life—ranging from understanding the origins of fundamental cell systems to placing the root of the tree. We have also established the first culture of a hemimastigote (Hemimastix kukwesjijk sp. nov.), which will facilitate future genomic and cell-biological investigations into eukaryote evolution and the last eukaryotic common ancestor.

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