The phylogenetic position of has been difficult to determine because reconstructions of phylogenetic trees based on rRNA sequences have been ambiguous. The most probable trees determined by most algorithms place the genus at the base of a group that includes the halobacteria and the methanogens and their relatives, although occasionally some algorithms place this genus near the eocytes (the hyperthermophilic, sulfur-metabolizing prokaryotes), suggesting that it may belong to this lineage. In order to resolve the phylogeny of the genus , we determined the sequence of an informative region of elongation factor 1-alpha that contains an 11-amino-acid insertion in eocytes and eukaryotes which is replaced by a 4-amino-acid insertion in methanogens, halobacteria, and eubacteria. On the basis of the results of our elongation factor 1-alpha gene analysis, we concluded that the genus diverged from the eocyte branch before the eukaryotic and eocyte lineages separated and therefore is not an eocyte.


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