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Med Mycol. 1999 Apr;37(2):105-14.

Phylogeny and taxonomy of the family Arthrodermataceae (dermatophytes) using sequence analysis of the ribosomal ITS region.

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  • 1Institute of Microbiology and Hygiene, Department of Dermatology, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany. yvonne.graeser@charite.de


The internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region, covering the ITS1, ITS2 and 5.8S ribosomal DNA was used to evaluate phylogenetic relationships within the fungal family Arthrodermataceae. Sequences of variable length, ranging between 522 and 684 base pairs were aligned. An unrooted consensus tree based on parsimony analysis showed Trichophyton to be polyphyletic, and Microsporum to be paraphyletic. Non-monophyly of these two genera is in conflict with traditional classification. But this relation is not strongly supported by bootstrap analysis. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the two known members of the genus Epidermophyton grouped widely apart from each other. Within Trichophyton, our results suggest a separation of human pathogenic species and primarily geophilic species. Bootstrap support for these two groups is fairly high and both groups are recognized by current taxonomy. Three lineages were revealed within the T. mentagrophytes species complex. Microsporum canis, M. audouinii and M. equinum were found to be closely related. The topology of the tree was robust to various methods of analysis (parsimony and distance) and a different weighting scheme. Weighting of transversions over transitions did not improve the status of poorly supported branches of the tree.

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