Cryptosporidium is more closely related to the gregarines than to coccidia as shown by phylogenetic analysis of apicomplexan parasites inferred using small-subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences
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The phylogenetic placement of gregarine parasites (Apicomplexa: Gregarinasina) within the Apicomplexa was derived by comparison of small-subunit ribosomal RNA gene sequences. Gregarine sequences were obtained from Gregarina niphandrodes Clopton, Percival, and Janovy, 1991, and Monocystis agilis Stein, 1848 (Eugregarinorida Léger 1900), as well as from Ophriocystiselektroscirrha McLaughlin and Myers, 1970 (Neogregarinorida Grassé 1953). The sequences were aligned with several other gregarine and apicomplexan sequences from GenBank and the resulting data matrix analyzed by parsimony and maximum-likelihood methods. The gregarines form a monophyletic clade that is a sister group to Cryptosporidium spp. The gregarine/Cryptosporidium clade is separate from the other major apicomplexan clade containing the coccidia, adeleids, piroplasms, and haemosporinids. The trees indicate that the genus Cryptosporidium has a closer phylogenetic affinity with the gregarines than with the coccidia. These results do not support the present classification of the Cryptosporidiidae in the suborder Eimerioirina Léger, 1911.
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