The extrachromosomal rDNA molecules from a number of Tetrahymena strains were characterized by restriction enzyme mapping using three different restriction enzymes combined with gel blotting and hybridization analysis. Strains from four out of six recently described species were found to contain an intron in the 26s rRNA coding region. The evolutionary relationship among the species of the T. pyriformis complex was examined on the basis of the rDNA maps with emphasis on similarities between two of the new species and the widely studied T. thermophila and T. pigmentosa. Examination of a large number of T. pigmentosa strains showed this species to exhibit an unusual polymorphism with respect to its rDNA. It is suggested that recombinational cross-over events play a role in the formation of new rDNA alleles in this species.
Journal of Protozoology, 1985, Vol 32, Issue 3, p. 480-5