A Biochemical Phylogeny of the Protists by Mark A. Ragan

By Mark A. Ragan

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F r a g m e n t s c o n t a i n i n g f o u r t o f o u r t e e n n u c l e o t i d e s h a v e b e e n s t u d i e d , b o t h f r o m D N A ( S a n g e r et ai, 1973) a n d f r o m several d i f f e r e n t R N A ' s ( S e c t i o n 4 . 3 . 2 ) . F r a g m e n t s containing only two nucleotides ( " d o u b l e t s " ) a r e easier to a n a l y z e , b u t c o n t a i n s i g n i f i c a n t l y less i n f o r m a t i o n t h a n d o l a r g e r f r a g m e n t s . P a t t e r n s of o v e r a l l d o u b l e t f r e q u e n c y d e l i n e a t e d by n u m e r i c a l techniques a g r e e m o d e r a t e l y well w i t h m o d e r n c o n c e p t s of b a c t e r i a l p h y l o g e n y , a n d doublet analysis m a y p r o v e t o b e of s o m e i n t e r e s t ( S u b a k - S h a r p e et ai, in viral phylogeny 1974).

S o called u n c o m m o n bases have been reported from m a n y o r g a n i s m s (Table 4), b u t n o p h y l o g e n e t i c t r e n d s a r e o b v i o u s . All k n o w n R N A ' s c o n t a i n u r a c i l in t h e p l a c e of t h e t h y m i d i n e f o u n d in D N A , b u t t h e e v o l u t i o n a r y i m p l i c a t i o n s of this a r e u n c l e a r ( L e s k , 1969). 3 Hybridization E x p e r i m e n t s D N A - R N A h y b r i d i z a t i o n t e c h n i q u e s , a l l u d e d t o e a r l i e r , s h o w only a 2 0 % t o 3 0 % r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t h e b a c t e r i a Escherichia coli ( g r a m - n e g a t i v e ) a n d Bacillus subtilis ( g r a m - p o s i t i v e ) .

The evolutionary advantage s e l e c t i n g for e n d o s y m b i o s i s w o u l d t h e n a r i s e f r o m t h e i n c r e a s e d ability t o p e r f o r m o x i d a t i v e p h o s p h o r y l a t i o n by t h e M i t c h e l l ( 1 9 6 9 ) c h e m i o s m o t i c 3 26 Phylogenetics m e c h a n i s m , w h i c h r e q u i r e s c o m p a r t m e n t a l i z a t i o n by b i o m e m b r a n e s . T h i s h y p o t h e s i s , a n d its c o n s e q u e n c e s , h a v e b e e n d i s c u s s e d by H a l l ( 1 9 7 3 a ) .

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