, Volume 149, Issue 6, pp 515-520

Base composition of DNA from symbiotic dinoflagellates: a tool for phylogenetic classification

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DNA of eight endosymbiotic dinoflagellates (zooxanthellae) from seven different host species has been analyzed as to its thermal characteristics and base composition by means of spectrophotometry and high performance liquid chromatography. All algae under investigation contain both methylcytosine and hydroxymethyluracil in addition to the bases typical of nuclear DNA. As a result, melting temperatures are decreased, suggesting lower contents of guanine plus cytosine than actually present. True percentages of guanine plus cytosine plus methylcytosine range from about 43 to 54 mol%. They are unique for the symbionts from different hosts, indicating phylogenetic separation of the taxa comparised within the genus Symbiodinium.