Microjoenia are obligate symbionts of termites. The genus was erected in 1892 for small cells with many flagella that insert near, but not directly from, the cell apex, and an axostyle that can protrude from the cell posterior. Although ultrastructural studies have been carried out on three Microjoenia species to date, no molecular data have been directly attributed to any species. Microjoenia are classified within the parabasalian class Spirotrichonymphea, which is characterized by flagellar bands that emerge near the cell apex and proceed posteriorly in a right-handed helix. In Microjoenia, however, the flagellar bands are very short and proceed longitudinally or with a weakly observable helix. In this study, we have amplified and sequenced the 18S ribosomal RNA gene from individually isolated Microjoenia cells from Reticulitermes and Hodotermopsis hosts as part of an ongoing effort to understand the phylogeny of Spirotrichonymphea and their coevolution with termites. In our 18S rRNA gene phylogeny, Microjoenia forms the sister lineage to Spirotrichonympha, though many other evolutionary relationships within Spirotrichonymphea remain unresolved.
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