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A major evolutionary divide occurs in the animal kingdom between the so-called radially symmetric animals, which includes the cnidarians, and the bilaterally symmetric animals, which includes all worm phyla. Buddenbrockia plumatellae is an active, muscular, parasitic worm that belongs to the phylum Myxozoa, a group of morphologically simplified microscopic endoparasites that has proved difficult to place phylogenetically. Phylogenetic analyses of multiple protein-coding genes demonstrate that Buddenbrockia is a cnidarian. This active muscular worm increases the known diversity in cnidarian body plans and demonstrates that a muscular, wormlike form can evolve in the absence of overt bilateral symmetry.

Original publication

DOI

10.1126/science.1142024

Type

Journal article

Journal

Science

Publication Date

06/07/2007

Volume

317

Pages

116 - 118

Keywords

Animals, Biological Evolution, Cnidaria, DNA, Ribosomal, Genes, Genes, Homeobox, Locomotion, Molecular Sequence Data, Muscles, Phylogeny, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Proteins