The ciliate Sorogena stoianovitchae, which can form a multicellular fruiting body, has been classified based upon its ultrastructure and morphology: the oral and somatic infraciliature of S. stoianovitchae most closely resemble those of members of the order Cyrtolophosidida in the class Colpodea. We characterized the small subunit ribosomal DNA (SSU rDNA) gene sequence from S. stoianovitchae and compared this sequence with those from representatives of all ciliate classes. These analyses placed S. stoianovitchae as either sister to members of the class Nassophorea or Colpodea. In an in-group analysis, including all SSU rDNA sequences from members of the classes Nassophorea and Colpodea and representatives of appropriate outgroups, S. stoianovitchae was always sister to Platyophrya vorax (class Colpodea, order Cyrtolophosidida). However, our analyses failed to support the monophyly of the class Colpodea. Instead, our data suggest that there are essentially three unresolved clades: (1) the class Nassophorea; (2) Bresslaua vorax, Colpoda inflata, Pseudoplatyophrya nana, and Bursaria truncatella (class Colpodea); and (3) P. vorax and S. stoianovitchae (class Colpodea).
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Vol. 48 • No. 5