Bacteria, Viruses, and Protists


How have scientists recently reclassified protists?

The classification of protists has traditionally included species such as protozoa and algae, some fungal-like organisms, and other organisms that didn’t fit into the idea of a plant or animal. By 2005, the first scientific community-wide effort to categorize all the protists was made, but it still was limited by the technology available at the time.

Thus, in 2012, with more DNA and RNA sequencing on many organisms, another classification was presented. The most significant change was the introduction and recognition of new super groups—a way of understanding the relationships between ancient and modern protists and even the protists’ connections to animals and plants. One such change is what scientists call Amorphea, a super group that links animals, fungi, and protists to a diverse group of protists largely dominated by various amoeboid cells (such as macroscopic slime molds); another super group is SAR, which includes the most common algae, microbial predators, and parasites. It will be a few more years until all the classifications are modified to accept the newest data.


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