The search for the fungal tree of life

  • McLaughlin D
  • Hibbett D
  • Lutzoni F
 et al. 
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Abstract

The Fungi comprise a diverse kingdom of eukaryotes that are characterized by a typically filamentous but sometimes unicellular vegetative form, and heterotrophic, absorptive nutrition. Their simple morphologies and variable ecological strategies have confounded efforts to elucidate their limits, phylogenetic relationships, and diversity. Here we review progress in developing a phylogenetic classification of Fungi since Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Knowledge of phylogenetic relationships has been driven by the available characters that have ranged from morphological and ultrastructural to biochemical and genomic. With the availability of multiple gene phylogenies a well-corroborated phylogenetic classification has now begun to emerge. In the process some fungus-like heterotrophs have been shown to belong elsewhere, and several groups of enigmatic eukaryotic microbes have been added to the Fungi. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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