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Title: The Ascomycota tree of life: A phylum wide phylogeny clarifies the origin and evolution of fundamental reproductive and ecological traits

item Schoch, C.l.
item Blackwell, M
item Bonito, G.
item Castlebury, Lisa
item Crous, P. W.
item Geiser, D.
item Lutzoni, F.
item O`donnell, Kerry
item Rossman, Amy
item Spatafora, J. W.

Submitted to: Systematic Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/12/2009
Publication Date: 6/4/2009
Citation: Schoch, C., Blackwell, M., Bonito, G., Castlebury, L.A., Crous, P., Geiser, D., Lutzoni, F., O Donnell, K., Rossman, A.Y., Spatafora, J. 2009. The Ascomycota tree of life: A phylum wide phylogeny clarifies the origin and evolution of fundamental reproductive and ecological traits. Systematic Biology. 58(2):224-239.

Interpretive Summary: Fungi cause billions of dollars damage to agricultural crops each year. In addition, they can greatly hinder the export of agriculturally commodities from the U.S. to other countries. In order to control diseases caused by fungi both in the U.S. and abroad, it is necessary to identify and characterize fungal species that cause diseases of crops. In this paper a number of fungi that cause diseases of plants are compared with their most closely related species. These comparisons are made using portions of the genome that are sequenced. It was determined that most groups of fungi that cause diseases of plants are related to fungi that do not cause diseases of plants. Knowledge of the characteristics and relationships of these plant-associated fungi is important for preventing their entry into the U.S. and controlling the diseases they cause. These results will be used by plant pathologists who breed for resistance to the diseases caused by these fungi.

Technical Abstract: With approximately 33 000 known species, the Ascomycota is the largest phylum of Fungi and one of the most diverse and ubiquitous groups of eukaryotes on Earth. Its species occur in numerous ecological niches in virtually all terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, where they function in decay of organic substrates and as mutualists, parasites and pathogens of animals, plants and other fungi. The defining synapomorphy for Ascomycota is a specialized sac-shaped meiosporangium (ascus) in which meiotic spores (ascospores) are produced. Incorporating both the newest phylogenetic data and broad input from the mycological community, a recent supraordinal fungal classification listed 3 subphyla, 14 classes and 60 orders of Ascomycota. In this study presented extended sampling represents the majority of lineages presented in the AFTOL classification, including sequences from 420 Ascomycota taxa. These data test and refine hypotheses relating to: 1) monophyly and subphylum relationships of Ascomycota, 2) evolution of ascomatal and ascus development and morphologies, and 3) evolution of major ecologies and life styles of Ascomycota.