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Barcoding myxomycetes with molecular markers: challenges and opportunities

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Despite the long history of studies based on fruit body occurrence and morphology, the molecular era for myxomycetes started much later than for most other Eukaryotic groups. With the first reliable phylogenies of myxomycetes at hand, a barcoding approach is within reach. However, a serious challenge is the high diversity in marker genes known as more conservative in animals or plants. Like in other protistean groups this makes it difficult to find truly universal primers. This review reports recent advances in the development of molecular markers and assesses their suitability for barcoding the ca. 1000 described morphospecies. Most advanced is barcoding with partial sequences of the 18S rRNA gene, but the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I gene is as well a promising marker. Based on the limited number of studies that employed molecular methods to investigate natural populations of myxomycetes, consequences of such a barcoding approach for species concepts are discussed. Challenges for the analysis of environmental samples are addressed, which have a great potential to improve our understanding of the ecology and diversity of the group.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2017

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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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