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Title: Molecular Systematics of Entomopathogenic Fungi

item Rehner, Stephen

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/11/2008
Publication Date: 2/16/2009
Citation: Rehner, S.A. 2009. Molecular Systematics of Entomopathogenic Fungi. Chapter 7. In: Stock,S.P., Vandenberg,J., Glazer,I., Boemare,N., editors. Insect pathogens: molecular approaches and techniques. Cambridge, MA: CABI. p. 145-158.

Interpretive Summary: No I.S. for book chapter.

Technical Abstract: Insect parasitism has multiple and diverse origins within the Kingdom Fungi, with shifts to trophic specialization on insects having evolved one or more times in each of the four traditionally recognized phyla of fungi, the Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, Chytridiomycota, and Zygomycota. The rich legacy of these adaptive shifts to nutritional specialization on insects is evidenced in the more than 700 described species of fungal invertebrate pathogens. With the advent of DNA sequencing and phylogenetic analytical methods, from the 1980’s onward the field of fungal evolutionary biology has developed rapidly, yielding unprecedented insights about the evolutionary history of the fungi. These discoveries have led to significant changes in how we classify, investigate, and communicate about Fungi. Because of the disparate origins of species and lineages of entomopathogens within Fungi, a broad knowledge of fungal diversity and evolution, combined with an understanding of the principals by which species are delimited and classified, is fundamental to working with this ecologically and agriculturally important group of organisms. In this chapter recent advances in fungal phylogenetics are reviewed and summarized that inform understanding of their evolution and classification, and how molecular data are used to develop modern species concepts and how this relates to the systematic study of entomopathogenic fungi. Recent molecular phylogenetic data are reviewed that have shed new light on the origin and diversification of the fungi and how this information enhances and changes understanding of the evolution and higher-level classification of fungal entomopathogens. In addition species concepts in fungi are reviewed and the development of phylogenetic species concepts with molecular phylogenetic data, with several examples where this approach has been applied to test and revise species delimitation in entomopathogenic fungi.