SYSTEMATICS OF MICROFUNGI USED IN BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF PLANT DISEASES AND INSECT PESTS
Title: Phylogeny and systematics of the anamorphic, entomopathogenic genus Beauveria
Submitted to: Mycologia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 14, 2011
Publication Date: October 10, 2011
Citation: Rehner, S.A., Humber, R.A., Minnis, A., Sung, Gi-Ho, Luangsa-Ard, J., Devotto, L. 2011. Phylogeny and systematics of the anamorphic, entomopathogenic genus Beauveria. Mycologia. 103(5):1055-1073.
Interpretive Summary: Fungi are often used to control insect pests of crop plants. Recently the group of fungi most commonly used in insect pest control was determined to include species that are not accurately defined. In this research sequences from various regions of the DNA were used to define species. It was determined that, instead of two species, there are actually several different species of fungi. Six species previously unknown to science are described and illustrated. This research will be used by insect pathologists to discover more effective isolates and determine the correct identification of the fungi that are used to control insects.
Beauveria is a cosmopolitan anamorph genus of arthropod pathogens that includes the agronomically important species B. bassiana and B. brongniartii, which are used as mycoinsecticides for the biological control of pest insects. Recent phylogenetic evidence demonstrates that Beauveria is monophyletic within the Cordycipitaceae (Hypocreales) and both B. bassiana and B. brongniartii have been linked developmentally and phylogenetically to Cordyceps species. Although there has been a high level of interest in the genetic diversity and molecular ecology of Beauveria, particularly as it relates to their role as pathogens of insects in natural and agricultural environments, the genus has not received critical taxonomic review for several decades. A multi-gene phylogeny of Beauveria based on partial sequences of rpb1, rpb2, tef1 and the nuclear intergenic region, Bloc, is presented and is used to assess diversity and species boundaries within the genus and to evaluate existing species concepts and their taxonomic status. B. bassiana and B. brongniartii, which both represent species complexes and which heretofore have lacked type specimens, are redescribed. In addition, six new species combinations are proposed including: B. varroae and B. kapuaensis, which are morphologically cryptic sister lineages to B. bassiana; B. pseudobassiana, which is also morphologically indistinguishable from but phylogenetically distant from B. bassiana; B. asiatica and B. australis, which are sister lineages to B. brongniartii; B. troglodytes, which is a sister to B. caledonica; and B. sungii, an Asian species that is linked to an undetermined species of Cordyceps.