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Phylogenetic distribution and evolution of secondary metabolites in the lichenized fungal genus Lepraria (Lecanorales: Stereocaulaceae)

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Molecular sequence data are used to explore the phylogenetic distribution of secondary metabolites and metabolite classes among species of Lepraria. All substance classes examined were phylogenetically widespread, except for β-orcinol meta-depsides and anthraquinones, which appeared rare and restricted to a single major clade. Benzyl esters were also found to be rare. Taxa producing each substance class examined were not monophyletic. The ability to regularly produce orcinol para depsides, β-orcinol meta-depsides, β-orcinol depsidones, dibenzofurans, benzyl esters, terpenoids and anthraquinones appears to have been gained more than lost, while the ability to produce β-orcinol para-depsides and higher aliphatic acids has been lost more than gained. Our results suggest that chemical similarities may not necessarily indicate close phylogenetic relationships. Finally, ancestral state reconstruction at the base of genus Lepraria suggests that its ancestor produced β-orcinol para-depsides (atranorin) but did not produce orcinol para-depsides, β-orcinol meta-depsides, benzyl esters or anthraquinones.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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  • Nova Hedwigia is an international journal publishing original, peer-reviewed papers on current issues of taxonomy, morphology, ultrastructure and ecology of all groups of cryptogamic plants, including cyanophytes/cyanobacteria and fungi. The half-tone plates in Nova Hedwigia are known for their high quality, which makes them especially suitable for the reproduction of photomicrographs and scanning and transmission electron micrographs.
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