A kingdom's progress: Archezoa and the origin of eukaryotes
Summary The taxon Archezoa was proposed to unite a group of very odd eukaryotes that lack many of the characteristics classically associated with nucleated cells, in particular the mitochondrion. The hypothesis was that these cells diverged from other eukaryotes before these characters ever evolved, and therefore they repre- sent ancient and primitive eukaryotic lineages. The kingdom comprised four groups: Metamonada, Microsporidia, Parabasalia, and Archamoebae. Until re- cently, molecular work supported their primitive status, as they consistently branched deeply in eukaryotic phylogenetic trees. However, evidence has now emerged that many Archezoa contain genes derived from the mitochondrial symbiont, revealing that they actually evolved after the mitochondrial symbiosis. In addition, some Archezoa have now been shown to have evolved more recently than previously believed, especially the Microsporidia for which considerable evidence now indicates a relationship with fungi. In summary, the mitochondrial symbiosis now appears to predate all Archezoa and perhaps all presently known eukaryotes. BioEssays 20:87-95, 1998. r 1998 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 87-95, 1998