Molecular evidence that the myxozoan protists are metazoans

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Science  16 Sep 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5179, pp. 1719-1721
DOI: 10.1126/science.8085160


The evolutionary origins of the protistan phylum, Myxozoa, have long been questioned. Although these obligate parasites are like protozoans in many features, several aspects of their ontogeny and morphology have implied a closer relationship to metazoan lineages. Phylogenetic analyses of 18S ribosomal RNA sequences from myxozoans and other eukaryotes, with the use of parsimony, distance, and maximum-likelihood methods, support the hypothesis that myxozoans are closely related to the bilateral animals. These results suggest that the Myxozoa, long considered an assemblage of protozoans, should be considered a metazoan phylum.