The phylum Cercozoa consists of a diverse assemblage of amoeboid and flagellated protists that forms a major component of the supergroup, Rhizaria. However, despite its size and ubiquity, the phylogeny of the Cercozoa remains unclear as morphological variability between cercozoan species and ambiguity in molecular analyses, including phylogenomic approaches, have produced ambiguous results and raised doubts about the monophyly of the group. Here we sought to resolve these ambiguities using a 161-gene phylogenetic dataset with data from newly available genomes and deeply sequenced transcriptomes, including three new transcriptomes from Aurigamonas solis, Abollifer prolabens, and a novel species, Lapot gusevi n. gen. n. sp. Our phylogenomic analysis strongly supported a monophyletic Cercozoa, and approximately-unbiased tests rejected the paraphyletic topologies observed in previous studies. The transcriptome of L. gusevi represents the first transcriptomic data from the large and recently characterized Aquavolonidae-Treumulida-'Novel Clade 12' group, and phylogenomics supported its position as sister to the cercozoan subphylum, Endomyxa. These results provide insights into the phylogeny of the Cercozoa and the Rhizaria as a whole.
Keywords: Cercozoa; Phylogenomics; Phylogeny; Rhizaria; Single-cell transcriptomics.
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