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Mycol Res. 2005 Aug;109(Pt 8):872-80.

Phylogenetic analysis of EF-1 alpha gene sequences from isolates of Microdochium nivale leads to elevation of varieties majus and nivale to species status.

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Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire TF10 8NB, UK.


Degenerate PCR primers were designed based on EF-1 alpha (EF-1alpha) gene sequences of several filamentous fungi retrieved from sequence databases. These primers were used to isolate a partial sequence, approximately 830 bp in length of the EF-1alpha from isolates of Microdochium nivale obtained from various geographic locations across the world. Two distinct groups of isolates were evident among those isolates examined. Sequence homology for comparisons within group was 99.7% for group A and 99.8% for group B. Primers specific to either group A or group B sequences were designed and tested on isolates from around the world. Comparisons were made with primers previously reported for the two varieties of M. nivale and revealed that Group A type isolates correlated with M. nivale var. majus and group B isolates with M. nivale var. nivale. The primers from this study and those previously reported were in agreement for all isolates with the exception of one isolate (NRRL 3289) which failed to amplify with previously published M. nivale primers. Sequence analysis of NRRL 3289 suggested that it was an isolate of M. nivale var. nivale as indicated by the EF-1alpha based primers developed in this study. This study provides sequence based phylogenetic evidence of two species and when taken together with biological differences reported, leads to the recognition of M. majus comb. nov. (syn. Fusarium nivale var. majus). Descriptions of the two species are provided.

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