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Mycologia. 2005 May-Jun;97(3):641-58.

Using mating-type gene sequences for improved phylogenetic resolution of Collectotrichum species complexes.

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  • 1Department of Plant Pathology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40546-0312, USA.


Colletotrichum species are defined primarily on the basis of host preference and morphology of the organism in planta and in culture. However the genus contains several species complexes that encompass such a broad range of morphological and pathological variation that the species name is of relatively little use either to the taxonomist or plant pathologist. Phylogenetic analyses, primarily based on variable regions of the ribosomal DNA (rDNA) sequences, have indicated that these species complexes comprise a variable number of identifiable monophyletic clades. However rDNA sequences often are insufficiently diverse to fully resolve such closely related lineages. A group of isolates representing three species complexes (C. graminicola, C. gloeosporioides and C. acutatum) were analyzed by using the high mobility group (HMG)-encoding sequence of the MAT1-2 mating type sequence, which has been shown in other fungi to be especially suitable for distinguishing relationships among closely related groups. Results were compared with those obtained from analysis of variable regions of the rDNA as well as from standard morphological classification methods. Results achieved through analysis of MAT1-2 sequences correlated well with those obtained by analysis of rDNA sequences but provided significantly better resolution among the various lineages. Morphological traits, including hyphopodia size, colony appearance, spore size, appresorial shape and size and host preference, frequently were unreliable as indicators of phylogenetic association. Spore shape and hyphopodia shape more often were useful for this purpose.

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