Unikonts are members of the Unikonta, a taxonomic group proposed by Thomas Cavalier-Smith.

It includes amoebozoa and opisthokonts.

The group includes eukaryotic cells with a single flagellum, at least ancestrally. Some research suggests that a unikont was the ancestor of opisthokonts (animals, fungi and related forms) and Amoebozoa, and a bikont (a eukaryotic cell with two flagella) was the ancestor of Archaeplastida (plants and relatives), Excavata, Rhizaria, and Chromalveolata.

The unikonts have a triple-gene fusion that is lacking in the bikonts. The three genes that are fused together in the unikonts but not bacteria or bikonts encode enzymes for synthesis of the pyrimidine nucleotides: carbamoyl phosphate synthase, dihydroorotase, aspartate carbamoyltransferase. This must have involved a double fusion, a rare pair of events, supporting the shared ancestry of Opisthokonta and Amoebozoa.

The unikonts have a single centriole. Some unikonts have two centrioles but their origins are developmentally different than in the bikonts, indicating convergent evolution.


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A Minge M, Silberman JD, Orr RJ, et al (November 2008). "Evolutionary position of breviate amoebae and the primary eukaryote divergence". Proc. Biol. Sci. 276: 597.
Burki F, Pawlowski J (October 2006). "Monophyly of Rhizaria and multigene phylogeny of unicellular bikonts". Mol. Biol. Evol. 23 (10): 1922–30.