Phylogeny of the Ichthyosporea

The Ichthyosporea are a group of single-celled parasites that infect a variety of animals, including humans. The group has only very recently been identified on the basis of some preliminary genetic data, and appears to have evolved from animals and fungi. Very little is known about these parasites, and genetic data is needed to understand their evolution and how they function. Audrey de Koning is determining the DNA sequences of some common genes in several Ichthyosporeans and comparing these sequences to the genes of other organisms. This will allow her to identify similar genetic patterns and learn more about how Ichthyosporeans evolved. She is also generating a large number of DNA sequences for expressed genes-genes that have had their coded information converted into the structures present and operating in a cell-in a representative member of the Ichthyosporea. This will give a broad picture of how these parasites function, and may uncover weaknesses that can be exploited to develop new disease treatments.