Shells (tests) are present in diverse eukaryotic lineages. Testate amoebae are a diverse polyphyletic group inside eukaryotes, comprising only shelled unicellular organisms. Despite the diverse field that studies testate amoebae we lack molecular information relating to testate amoebae's shell origin and evolution. Arcellinida is a monophyleic testate amoeba group inside Amoebozoa, a key lineage to study the origin and evolution of its shell. Here we propose the generation of transcriptomes from Cryptodifflugia operculata (Amoebozoa:Arcellinida) during shell formation and vegetative stage to identify the genes responsible for shell formation. Cryptodifflugia is a basal Arcellinida genus, distantly related to the genus Arcella (the genus that we are currently studying). This will enable us to analyze whether Arcellinids construct shell using deeply conserved shell-forming genes/proteins, species-specific genes/proteins, or both. Additionally, we will optimize our transcriptome analysis pipeline and gene family analysis pipeline. The addition of Cryptodifflugia and the optimization of transcriptome and gene families analysis will enable to shed light on the evolutionary molecular origin and evolution of shell in Arcellinida.
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