The phylogenetic position of the Haplosporidia has confounded taxonomists for more than a century because of the unique morphology of these parasites. We collected DNA sequence data for small subunit (SSU) ribosomal RNA and actin genes from haplosporidians and other protists for conducting molecular phylogenetic analyses to help elucidate relationships of taxa within the group, as well as placement of this group among Eukaryota. Analyses were conducted using DNA sequence data from more than 100 eukaryotic taxa with various combinations of data sets including nucleotide sequence data for each gene separately and combined, as well as SSU ribosomal DNA data combined with translated actin amino acids. In almost all analyses, the Haplosporidia was sister to the Cercozoa with moderate bootstrap and jackknife support. Analysis with actin amino acid sequences alone grouped haplosporidians with the foraminiferans and cercozoans. The haplosporidians Minchinia and Urosporidium were found to be monophyletic, whereas Haplosporidium was paraphyletic. “Microcell” parasites, Bonamia spp. and Mikrocytos roughleyi, were sister to Minchinia, the most derived genus, with Haplosporidium falling between the “microcells” and the more basal Urosporidium. Two recently discovered parasites, one from abalone in New Zealand and another from spot prawns in British Columbia, fell at the base of the Haplosporidia with very strong support, indicating a taxonomic affinity to this group.

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