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Mol Phylogenet Evol. 2001 Nov;21(2):190-7.

Glomus, the largest genus of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (Glomales), is nonmonophyletic.

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Institute of Botany, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Schnittspahnstrasse 10, D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany.


Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi form a widespread and ecologically important symbiosis with plants in the land ecosystem. The phylogeny of the largest presently accepted genus, Glomus, of the monogeneric family Glomaceae (Glomales; AM fungi) was analyzed. Phylogenetic trees were computed from nearly full-length SSU rRNA gene sequences of 30 isolates, and show that "Glomus" is not monophyletic. Even after the very recent separation of Archaeospora and Paraglomus from "Glomus," the genus further separates into two suprageneric clades. One of them diverges further into two subclades, differing by phylogenetic distances equivalent to family level. The other, comprising Glomus versiforme, G. spurcum, and a species morphologically similar to G. etunicatum, is not closely related to the Glomaceae, but clusters together with the Acaulosporaceae and Gigasporaceae in a monophyletic clade. Based on the molecular evidence, a new family, separate from the Glomaceae, is required to accommodate this group of organisms, initially named Diversisporaceae fam. ined. The current taxonomic concept of the recently erected family Archaeosporaceae also requires future emendation, because Geosiphon pyriformis (Geosiphonaceae) renders Archaeospora, the sole genus formally included in this family, paraphyletic. The suborders Gigasporineae and Glominaeae are not congruent with the natural phylogeny of the AM fungi. Our data necessitate a general reexamination of the generic concepts within the Glomales. In addition to the new family structure hypothesized herein, establishment of at least three new genera will be necessary in the future.

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