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      Two divergent intragenomic rDNA ITS2 types within a monophyletic lineage of the fungus Fusarium are nonorthologous.

      Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution

      Base Sequence, DNA Primers, DNA, Ribosomal, genetics, Evolution, Molecular, Fusarium, classification, Genetic Variation, Molecular Sequence Data, Phylogeny, Polymerase Chain Reaction, Polymorphism, Genetic, RNA, Ribosomal, 28S, Tubulin

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          The evolutionary history of the phytopathogenic Gibberella fujikuroi complex of Fusarium and related species was investigated by cladistic analysis of DNA sequences obtained from multiple unlinked loci. Gene phylogenies inferred from the mitochondrial small subunit (mtSSU) rDNA, nuclear 28S rDNA, and beta-tubulin gene were generally concordant, providing strong support for a fully resolved phylogeny of all biological and most morphological species. Discordance of the nuclear rDNA internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) gene tree is due to paralogous or xenologous ITS2 sequences. PCR and sequence analysis demonstrated that every strain of the ingroup species tested possesses two highly divergent nonorthologous ITS2 types designated type I and type II. Only the major ITS2 type, however, is discernable when PCR products are amplified and sequenced directly with conserved primers. The minor ITS2 type was recovered using ITS2 type-specific PCR primers. Distribution of the major ITS2 type within the species lineages exhibits a homoplastic pattern of evolution, thus obscuring true phylogenetic relationships. The results suggest that the ancestral ITS2 types may have arisen following an ancient interspecific hybridization or gene duplication which occurred prior to the evolutionary radiation of the Gibberella fujikuroi complex and related species of Fusarium. The results also indicate that current morphological-based taxonomic schemes for these fungi are unnatural and a new classification is required.

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