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Relationship of Acanthamoeba to other Amoebae.

Page updates 13.8.03

The older literature is littered with references to amoebal groups that are proposed to have an affiliation to the genus Acanthamoeba based largely on morphological grounds.  Ultimately molecular data will reveal the true relationships between the various groups of amoeba, but not much data is available so far.  A useful about of data is available on the small subunit ribosomal RNA gene (SSUrRNA) sequence data has been collected and this has been used to classify Acanthamoeba "species" (Stothard et al, 1998), and the relationships with other amoeba.  Early studies seem to indicate that Acanthamoeba was related to Hartmannella, but it is now appreciated that this is spurious and that the only group currently known to be related to Acanthamoeba is Balamuthia, a genus with one currently recognised species (Peglar et al, 2003).  It is recognised that there are difficulties with SSUrRNA gene analysis and any relationships deduced by this method will have to be corroborated by other gene sequences, the EF1a gene is a common choice.



Peglar, M. T., Amaral Zettler, L. A., Anderson, O. R., Nerad, T. A., Gillevet, P. M., Mullen, T. E., Frasca Jr, S., Silberman, J. D., O'Kelly, C. J. & Sogin, M. L. (2003) Two new small-subunit ribosomal RNA gene lineages within the subclass Gymnamoebia. J.Eukaryot.Microbiol. 50, 224-232.

Stothard, D. R., Schroeder-Diedrich, J. M., Awwad, M. H., Gast, R. J., Ledee, D. R., Rodriguez-Zaragoza, S., Dean, C. L., Fuerst, P. A. & Byers, T. J. (1998) The evolutionary history of the genus Acanthamoeba and the identification of eight new 18S rRNA gene sequence types. J.Eukaryotic Microbiol. 45, 45-54.

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