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New Phytol. 2008;177(3):790-801. Epub 2007 Oct 26.

Arbuscular mycorrhizal associations in Lycopodiaceae.

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University of Colorado, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Boulder, Colorado 80309-0334, USA.


This study characterizes the molecular and phylogenetic identity of fungi involved in arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) associations in extant Huperzia and Lycopodium (Lycopodiaceae). Huperzia and Lycopodium are characterized by a life cycle with long-lived autotrophic sporophytes and long-lived mycoheterotrophic (obtain all organic carbon from fungal symbionts) gametophytes. 18S ribosomal DNA was isolated and sequenced from Glomus symbionts in autotrophic sporophytes of seven species of Huperzia and Lycopodium and mycoheterotrophic Huperzia gametophytes collected from the Páramos of Ecuador. Phylogenetic analyses recovered four Glomus A phylotypes in a single clade (MH3) that form AM associations with Huperzia and Lycopodium. In addition, phylogenetic analyses of Glomus symbionts from other nonphotosynthetic plants demonstrate that most AM fungi that form mycoheterotrophic associations belong to at least four specific clades of Glomus A. These results suggest that most mycoheterotrophic plants that form AM associations do so with restricted clades of Glomus A. Moreover, the correspondence of identity of AM symbionts in Huperzia sporophytes and gametophytes raises the possibility that photosynthetic sporophytes are a source of carbon to conspecific mycoheterotrophic gametophytes via shared fungal networks.

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