Oxymonas is a genus of Oxymonad protist found in the hindgut of drywood termites (family Kalotermitidae). Many genera of drywood termites are invasive pests globally. The hindgut microbiome of Cryptotermes brevis, the West Indian drywood termite, has not been described in detail, and only one published sequence exists of Oxymonas from C. brevis. This study aims to analyze Oxymonas sequences in C. brevis from whole gut genetic material, as well as to dissect its place in phylogenetic trees of Oxymonas and how it fits into specific and evolutionary patterns. To amplify the 18S rRNA gene Oxymonas from C. brevis, the MasterPure DNA extraction kit was used, followed by PCR amplification, followed by agarose gel electrophoresis, followed by purification of the resulting gel bands, followed by ligation/transformation on to an LB agar plate, followed by cloning the resulting bacterial colonies, and topped off by colony screening. The colony screening PCR products were then sequenced in the Genomics Core, assembled in Geneious, aligned and trimmed into a phylogenetic tree, along with several long-read amplicon sequences from Oxymonas in other drywood termites. All whole gut sequences and one amplicon from C. brevis formed a single clade, sharing an ancestor with a sister clade of Oxymonas sp. from C. cavifrons and Procryptotermes leewardensis, but the other long-read fell into its own clade in a different spot on the tree. It can be conjectured that the latter sequence was contaminated and that the C. brevis clones are a monophyletic group, a notion further corroborated by a distantly related clade featuring sequences from Cryptotermes dudleyi, which in turn has a sister taxon of Oxymonas clones from C. cavifrons and P. leewardensis, pointing toward a different kind of co-diversification of the hosts and symbionts rather than cospeciation.
- Analysis of Oxymonas Diversity in Cryptotermes brevis Using 18S Sequencing