A sequence database for the identification of ectomycorrhizal basidiomycetes by phylogenetic analysis

  • Bruns T
  • Szaro T
  • Gardes M
 et al. 
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Abstract

We have assembled a sequence database for 80 genera of Basidiomycota from the Hymenomycete lineage (sensu Swann & Taylor 1993) for a small region of the mitochon- drial large subunit rRNA gene. Our taxonomic sample is highly biased toward known ectomycorrhizal (EM) taxa, but also includes some related saprobic species. This gene fragment can be amplified directly from mycorrhizae, sequenced, and used to determine the family or subfamily of many unknown mycorrhizal basidiomycetes. The method is robust to minor sequencing errors, minor misalignments, and method of phylogenetic analysis. Evolutionary inferences are limited by the small size and conservative nature of the gene fragment. Nevertheless two interesting patterns emerge: (i) the switch between ectomycorrhizae and saprobic lifestyles appears to have happened convergently several and perhaps many times; and (ii) at least five independent lineages of ectomycorrhizal fungi are characterized by very short branch lengths. We estimate that two of these groups radiated in the mid-Tertiary, and we speculate that these radiations may have been caused by the expanding geographical range of their host trees during this period. The aligned database, which will continue to be updated, can be obtained from the following site on the WorldWide Web: http://mendel.berkeley.edu/boletus.html.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Agaricales
  • Aphyllophorales
  • Boletales
  • Evolution
  • Mitochondrial LrRNA gene
  • Molecular clock

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