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Fungal Biol. 2011 Jan;115(1):70-9. doi: 10.1016/j.funbio.2010.10.007. Epub 2010 Oct 31.

Reclassification of the butternut canker fungus, Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum, into the genus Ophiognomonia.

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School of Environmental Sciences, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON N1G 2W1, Canada.


Sirococcus clavigignenti-juglandacearum (Sc-j), which causes a canker disease on butternut, is largely responsible for the decline of this tree in the United States and Canada. The original description of the species was based on anamorphic characters because the teleomorph is unknown. Recent phylogenetic investigations have found that Sc-j is not a member of the genus Sirococcus, and accurate taxonomic classification is required. The objective of this study is to use sequence data to determine the phylogenetic placement of Sc-j within the Gnomoniaceae, Diaporthales. Isolates were recovered from infected Juglans ailantifolia var. cordiformis (heartnut), Juglans cinerea (butternut), and Juglans nigra (black walnut) in Ontario and the eastern United States. The genes coding for β-tubulin, actin, calmodulin, internal transcribed spacers 1 and 2, and the translation elongation factor 1-alpha from 28 isolates of Sc-j and representatives of the major lineages within the Gnomoniaceae were evaluated. There was no difference in the sequences of the five genes among the isolates of Sc-j studied, indicating a recent introduction followed by asexual reproduction and spread via conidia. The phylogenetic analyses demonstrate this fungus does not belong to the genus Sirococcus, and provides strong support (99% MP and 100% NJ bootstrap values, and 100% Bayesian posterior probabilities) for its inclusion in the genus Ophiognomonia, thereby supporting a reclassification of the butternut canker fungus to Ophiognomonia clavigignenti-juglandacearum.

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