Perkinsus atlanticus is a pathogenic protist that infects the clam Ruditapes decussatus. The recent proposal for the inclusion of the genus Perkinsus in a new phylum, Perkinsozoa, in the infra-kingdom Alveolata, gave rise to controversies whether this genus should form a phylum on its own. Molecular analysis of some conserved nuclear genes shows a closer proximity of the genus Perkinsus to the dinoflagellates than to the apicomplexans. Studies on extranuclear genomes, however, could also be very helpful for a more precise definition of those phyla. In Perkinsozoa, there have been until now no reports about the isolation of mitochondria as well as no conclusive results about the presence of any plastids, therefore a comparison with the data already obtained in Apicomplexa and Dinoflagellata has not yet been possible. In this work, we identify a plastid in Perkinsus atlanticus, using ultrastructural techniques and inhibition growth tests. It will be important to analyze the plastid genome at a molecular level, in order to confirm if the plastid in Perkinsus is more similar to those of Dinoflagellata or Apicomplexa. Such information will doubtless contribute to a more precise determination of the phylogenetic position of the genus Perkinsus.
- Perkinsus atlanticus
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