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Open Access Phylogeny of tremellomycetous yeasts and related dimorphic and filamentous basidiomycetes reconstructed from multiple gene sequence analyses

The Tremellomycetes (Basidiomycota) contains a large number of unicellular and dimorphic fungi with stable free-living unicellular states in their life cycles. These fungi have been conventionally classified as basidiomycetous yeasts based on physiological and biochemical characteristics. Many currently recognised genera of these yeasts are mainly defined based on phenotypical characters and are highly polyphyletic. Here we reconstructed the phylogeny of the majority of described anamorphic and teleomorphic tremellomycetous yeasts using Bayesian inference, maximum likelihood, and neighbour-joining analyses based on the sequences of seven genes, including three rRNA genes, namely the small subunit of the ribosomal DNA (rDNA), D1/D2 domains of the large subunit rDNA, and the internal transcribed spacer regions (ITS 1 and 2) of rDNA including 5.8S rDNA; and four protein-coding genes, namely the two subunits of the RNA polymerase II (RPB1 and RPB2), the translation elongation factor 1-α (TEF1) and the mitochondrial gene cytochrome b (CYTB). With the consideration of morphological, physiological and chemotaxonomic characters and the congruence of phylogenies inferred from analyses using different algorithms based on different data sets consisting of the combined seven genes, the three rRNA genes, and the individual protein-coding genes, five major lineages corresponding to the orders Cystofilobasidiales, Filobasidiales, Holtermanniales, Tremellales, and Trichosporonales were resolved. A total of 45 strongly supported monophyletic clades with multiple species and 23 single species clades were recognised. This phylogenetic framework will be the basis for the proposal of an updated taxonomic system of tremellomycetous yeasts that will be compatible with the current taxonomic system of filamentous basidiomycetes accommodating the ‘one fungus, one name’ principle.

Keywords: Basidiomycota; Fungi; Multigene phylogeny; Tremellomycetes; Yeasts

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2015

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  • Studies in Mycology is an international journal which publishes systematic monographs of filamentous fungi and yeasts, and special topical issues related to all fields of mycology, biotechnology, ecology, molecular biology, pathology and systematics. The journal is Open-Access and contains monographs or topical issues (5–6 papers per issue). There are no restrictions of length, although it is generally expected that manuscripts should be at least 50 A4 pages in print.
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