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Mycologia. 2013 May-Jun;105(3):530-46. doi: 10.3852/12-249.

The sections of Alternaria: formalizing species-group concepts.

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  • 1College of Agriculture, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA.


The systematics of Alternaria and allied genera traditionally has been based on the characteristics of conidia and the sporulation apparatus. This emphasis on morphology in the reconstruction of organismal relationships has resulted in taxonomic uncertainty and flux for a number of taxa in Alternaria and the related genera Stemphylium, Embellisia, Nimbya and Ulocladium. The present study used a molecular phylogenetic approach for systematic resolution and incorporated extensive taxon sampling (n = 176 species) representing 10 genera and analyses of 10 protein-coding loci. Phylogenetic analyses based on five of these genes revealed eight distinct asexual lineages of Alternaria that cluster as the sister group to the asexual paraphyletic genus Ulocladium, while taxa with known teleomorphs currently circumscribed as Alternaria (the infectoria species-group) cluster among genera that also have representatives with known teleomorphs. This work proposes to elevate the eight well supported asexual lineages of Alternaria to the taxonomic rank of section. Evolutionary relationships among Alternaria and closely related genera are discussed.


Alternaria; morphology; phylogenetics; species-groups; systematics

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