The aim of this study was to compare the usefulness of two chloroplast-encoded genes (rpoA and rbcL) and the nuclear-encoded small subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA for reconstructing phylogenetic relationships among diatoms at lower taxonomic levels. To this end, the rpoA and rbcL genes for selected centric and pennate diatoms were sequenced. The new rpoA and rbcL sequences, and an existing nuclear-encoded SSU rRNA data set, were subjected to weighted/unweighted parsimony, maximum likelihood, minimum evolution, and Bayesian analyses. All of the tree-building methods employed showed, based on the support values, that the rpoA gene was the most useful, relative to the rbcL and SSU rRNA genes, in determining phylogenetic relationships among the sampled diatoms. The support values for the relationships among the pennate lineages were, in many instances, greater in the rpoA trees than in the SSU rRNA trees. These results suggest that rpoA might be of value in determining phylogenetic relationships among pennate lineages.
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Vol. 50 • No. 6