The single-copy actin gene of Giardia lamblia lacks introns; it has an average of 58% amino acid identity with the actin of other species; and 49 of its amino acids can be aligned with the amino acids of a consensus sequence of heat shock protein 70. Analysis of the potential RNA secondary structure in the transcribed region of the G. lamblia actin gene and of the single-copy actin gene of nine other species did not reveal any conserved structures. The G. lamblia actin sequence was used to root the phylogenetic trees based on 65 actin protein sequences from 43 species. This tree is congruent with small-subunit rRNA trees in that it shows that oomycetes are not related to higher fungi; that kineto-platid protozoans, green plants, fungi and animals are monophyletic groups; and that the animal and fungal lineages share a more recent common ancestor than either does with the plant lineage. In contrast to small-subunit rRNA trees, this tree shows that slime molds diverged after the plant lineage. The slower rate of evolution of actin genes of slime molds relative to those of plants, fungi, and animals species might be responsible for this incongruent branching.