KNAW Repository

The Ascomycota Tree of Life: A Phylum-wide Phylogeny Clarifies the Origin and Evolution of Fundamental Reproductive and Ecological Traits

Schoch, C.L. and Sung, G. H. and Lopez-Giraldez, F. and Townsend, J. P. and Miadlikowska, J. and Hofstetter, V. and Robbertse, B. and Matheny, P. B. and Kauff, F. and Wang, Z. and Gueidan, C. and Andrie, R. M. and Trippe, K. and Ciufetti, L. M. and Wynns, A. and Fraker, E. and Hodkinson, B. P. and Bonito, G. and Groenewald, J.Z. and Arzanlou, M. and Hoog de, G.S. and Crous, P.W. and Hewitt, D. and Pfister, D. H. and Peterson, K. and Gryzenhout, M. and Wingfield, M.J. and Aptroot, A. and Suh, S. O. and Blackwell, M. and Hillis, D. M. and Griffith, G. W. and Castlebury, L. A. and Rossman, A. Y. and Lumbsch, H.T. and Lucking, R. and Budel, B. and Rauhut, A. and Diederich, P. and Ertz, D. and Geiser, D.M. and Hosaka, K. and Inderbitzin, P. and Kohlmeyer, J. and Volkmann-Kohlmeyer, B. and Mostert, L. and O'Donnell, K. and Sipman, H. and Rogers, J. and Shoemaker, R. A. and Sugiyama, J. and Summerbell, R.C. and Untereiner, W. A. and Johnston, P.R. and Stenroos, S. and Zuccaro, A. and Dyer, P.S. and Crittenden, P. D. and Cole, M. S. and Hansen, K. and Trappe, J. M. and Yahr, R. and Lutzoni, F. and Spatafora, J.W. (2009) The Ascomycota Tree of Life: A Phylum-wide Phylogeny Clarifies the Origin and Evolution of Fundamental Reproductive and Ecological Traits. Systematic Biology, 58, 224-239. ISSN 1063-5157.

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


We present a 6-gene, 420-species maximum-likelihood phylogeny of Ascomycota, the largest phylum of Fungi. This analysis is the most taxonomically complete to date with species sampled from all 15 currently circumscribed classes. A number of superclass-level nodes that have previously evaded resolution and were unnamed in classifications of the Fungi are resolved for the first time. Based on the 6-gene phylogeny we conducted a phylogenetic informativeness analysis of all 6 genes and a series of ancestral character state reconstructions that focused on morphology of sporocarps, ascus dehiscence, and evolution of nutritional modes and ecologies. A gene-by-gene assessment of phylogenetic informativeness yielded higher levels of informativeness for protein genes (RPB1, RPB2, and TEF1) as compared with the ribosomal genes, which have been the standard bearer in fungal systematics. Our reconstruction of sporocarp characters is consistent with 2 origins for multicellular sexual reproductive structures in Ascomycota, once in the common ancestor of Pezizomycotina and once in the common ancestor of Neolectomycetes. This first report of dual origins of ascomycete sporocarps highlights the complicated nature of assessing homology of morphological traits across Fungi. Furthermore, ancestral reconstruction supports an open sporocarp with an exposed hymenium (apothecium) as the primitive morphology for Pezizomycotina with multiple derivations of the partially (perithecia) or completely enclosed (cleistothecia) sporocarps. Ascus dehiscence is most informative at the class level within Pezizomycotina with most superclass nodes reconstructed equivocally. Character-state reconstructions support a terrestrial, saprobic ecology as ancestral. In contrast to previous studies, these analyses support multiple origins of lichenization events with the loss of lichenization as less frequent and limited to terminal, closely related species.

Item Type:Article
Institutes:Centraalbureau voor Schimmelcultures (CBS)
ID Code:6863
Deposited On:27 Jan 2010 01:00
Last Modified:03 Aug 2010 15:25

Repository Staff Only: item control page