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Mycologia. 2006 Nov-Dec;98(6):996-1005.

Early diverging Ascomycota: phylogenetic divergence and related evolutionary enigmas.

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Tokyo Office, TechnoSuruga Co. Ltd., Ogawamachi Kita Building 4F, Kanda Ogawamachi 1-8-3, Chiyodaku, Tokyo, Japan.


The early diverging Ascomycota lineage, detected primarily from nSSU rDNA sequence-based phylogenetic analyses, includes enigmatic key taxa important to an understanding of the phylogeny and evolution of higher fungi. At the moment six representative genera of early diverging ascomycetes (i.e. Taphrina, Protomyces, Saitoella, Schizosaccharomyces, Pneumocystis and Neolecta) have been assigned to "Archiascomycetes" sensu Nishida and Sugi ama (1994) or the subphylum "Taphrinomycotina" sensu Eriksson and Winka (1997). The group includes fungi that are ecologically and morphologically diverse, and it is difficult therefore to define the group based on common phenotypic characters. Bayesian analyses of nSSU rDNA or combined nSSU and nLSU rDNA sequences supported previously published Ascomycota frameworks that consist of three major lineages (i.e. a group of early diverging Ascomycota. [Taphrinomycotina], Saccharomycotina and Pezizomycotina); Taphrinomycotina is the sister group of Saccharomycotina and Pezizomycotina. The 50% majority rule consensus of 18000 Bayesian MCMCMC-generated trees from multilocus gene sequences of nSSU rDNA, nLSU rDNA (D1/D2), RPB2 and beta-tubulin also showed the monophyly of the three subphyla and the basal position of Taphrinomycotina in Ascomycota with significantly higher statistical support. However to answer controversial questions on the origin, monophyly and evolution of the Taphrinomycotina, additional integrated phylogenetic analyses might be necessary using sequences of more genes with broader taxon sampling from the early diverging Ascomycota.

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