Cellular and nuclear morphological variability within a single species of the toxigenic dinoflagellate genus Gambierdiscus: relationship to life-cycle processes
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Dinoflagellates belonging to the genus Gambierdiscus are the causative agent of ciguatera fish poisoning (CFP). This syndrome, which is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, has recently been reported also in temperate latitudes. Taxonomic studies of Gambierdiscus have yet to completely couple the morphological features of member species with their genetics. In this study, the cellular and nuclear morphology of a single strain of one species of Gambierdiscus was determined in cells grown under different culture conditions. The results showed a wide-ranging variability of cell sizes, together with a clear relationship between cell size and nuclear morphology. Thus, small cells were associated with round to oval or slightly U-shaped nuclei and large cells with obviously U-shaped nuclei. Most cells exhibited the typical anterio-posteriorly compressed lenticular, shape of Gambierdiscus, with the exception of a few small globular-shaped specimens. In all cells, regardless of their ...
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