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Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 2007 May;91(4):327-49. Epub 2006 Oct 28.

Phylogenetic utility of protein (RPB2, beta-tubulin) and ribosomal (LSU, SSU) gene sequences in the systematics of Sordariomycetes (Ascomycota, Fungi).

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Centre for Research in Fungal Diversity, Department of Ecology & Biodiversity, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR, Republic of China.


The Sordariomycetes is an important group of fungi whose taxonomic relationships and classification is obscure. There is presently no multi-gene molecular phylogeny that addresses evolutionary relationships among different classes and orders. In this study, phylogenetic analyses with a broad taxon sampling of the Sordariomycetes were conducted to evaluate the utility of four gene regions (LSU rDNA, SSU rDNA, beta-tubulin and RPB2) for inferring evolutionary relationships at different taxonomic ranks. Single and multi-gene genealogies inferred from Bayesian and Maximum Parsimony analyses were compared in individual and combined datasets. At the subclass level, SSU rDNA phylogenies demonstrate their utility as a marker to infer phylogenetic relationships at higher levels. All analyses with SSU rDNA alone, combined LSU rDNA and SSU rDNA, and the combined 28 S rDNA, SSU rDNA and RPB2 datasets resulted in three subclasses: Hypocreomycetidae, Sordariomycetidae and Xylariomycetidae, which correspond well to established morphological classification schemes. At the ordinal level, the best resolved phylogeny was obtained from the combined LSU rDNA and SSU rDNA datasets. Individually, the RPB2 gene dataset resulted in significantly higher number of parsimony informative characters. Our results supported the recent separation of Boliniaceae, Chaetosphaeriaceae and Coniochaetaceae from Sordariales and placement of Coronophorales in Hypocreomycetidae. Microascales was found to be paraphyletic and Ceratocystis is phylogenetically associated to Faurelina, while Microascus and Petriella formed another clade and basal to other members of Halosphaeriales. In addition, the order Lulworthiales does not appear to fit in any of the three subclasses. Congruence between morphological and molecular classification schemes is discussed.

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