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Mycologia. 2003 Sep-Oct;95(5):846-59.

Phylogenetics of Lophodermium from pine.

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Departamento de Ecología Evolutiva, Instituto de Ecología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Apartado Postal 70-275, Ciudad Universitaria, México, D.F. 04510, México.


Lophodermium comprises ascomycetous fungi that are both needle-cast pathogens and asymptomatic endophytes on a diversity of plant hosts. It is distinguished from other genera in the family Rhytismataceae by its filiform ascospores and ascocarps that open by a longitudinal slit. Nucleotide sequences of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA were used to infer phylogenetic relationships within Lophodermium. Twenty-nine sequences from approximately 11 species of Lophodermium were analyzed together with eight sequences from isolates thought to represent six other genera of Rhytismataceae: Elytroderma, Lirula, Meloderma, Terriera, Tryblidiopsis and Colpoma. Two putative Meloderma desmazieresii isolates occurred within the Lophodermium clade but separate from one another, one grouped with L. indianum and the other with L. nitens. An isolate of Elytroderma deformans also occurred within the Lophodermium clade but on a solitary branch. The occurrence of these genera within the Lophodermium clade might be due to problems in generic concepts in Rhytismataceae, such as emphasis on spore morphology to delimit genera, to difficulty of isolating Rhytismataceae needle pathogens from material that also is colonized by Lophodermium or to a combination of both factors. We also evaluated the congruence of host distribution and several morphological characters on the ITS phylogeny. Lophodermium species from pine hosts formed a monophyletic sister group to Lophodermium species from more distant hosts from the southern hemisphere, but not to L. piceae from Picea. The ITS topology indicated that Lophodermium does not show strict cospeciation with pines at deeper branches, although several closely related isolates have closely related hosts. Pathogenic species occupy derived positions in the pine clade, suggesting that pathogenicity has evolved from endophytism. A new combination is proposed, Terriera minor (Tehon) P.R. Johnst.

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