The divorce of Sporothrix and Ophiostoma: Solution to a problematic relationship

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One of the causal agents of human sporotrichosis, Sporothrix schenckii, is the type species of the genus Sporothrix. During the course of the last century the asexual morphs of many Ophiostoma spp. have also been treated in Sporothrix. More recently several DNA-based studies have suggested that species of Sporothrix and Ophiostoma converge in what has become known as Ophiostoma s. lat. Were the one fungus one name principles adopted in the Melbourne Code to be applied to Ophiostoma s. lat., Sporothrix would have priority over Ophiostoma, resulting in more than 100 new combinations. The consequence would be name changes for several economically important tree pathogens including O. novo-ulmi. Alternatively, Ophiostoma could be conserved against Sporothrix, but this would necessitate changing the names of the important human pathogens in the group. In this study, we sought to resolve the phylogenetic relationship between Ophiostoma and Sporothrix. DNA sequences were determined for the ribosomal large subunit and internal transcribed spacer regions, as well as the beta-tubulin and calmodulin genes in 65 isolates. The results revealed Sporothrix as a well-supported monophyletic lineage including 51 taxa, distinct from Ophiostoma s. str. To facilitate future studies exploring species level resolution within Sporothrix, we defined six species complexes in the genus. These include the Pathogenic Clade containing the four human pathogens, together with the S. pallida-, S. candida-, S. inflata-, S. gossypina- and S. stenoceras complexes, which include environmental species mostly from soil, hardwoods and Protea infructescences. The description of Sporothrix is emended to include sexual morphs, and 26 new combinations. Two new names are also provided for species previously treated as Ophiostoma.




de Beer, Z. W., Duong, T. A., & Wingfield, M. J. (2016). The divorce of Sporothrix and Ophiostoma: Solution to a problematic relationship. Studies in Mycology, 83, 165–191.

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