A genome-scale phylogeny of the kingdom Fungi

Yuanning Li, Jacob L. Steenwyk, Ying Chang, Yan Wang, Timothy Y. James, Jason E. Stajich, Joseph W. Spatafora, Marizeth Groenewald, Casey W. Dunn, Chris Todd Hittinger, Xing-Xing Shen, Antonis Rokas

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Phylogenomic studies using genome-scale amounts of data have greatly improved understanding of the tree of life. Despite the diversity, ecological significance, and biomedical and industrial importance of fungi, evolutionary relationships among several major lineages remain poorly resolved, especially those near the base of the fungal phylogeny. To examine poorly resolved relationships and assess progress toward a genome-scale phylogeny of the fungal kingdom, we compiled a phylogenomic data matrix of 290 genes from the genomes of 1,644 species that includes representatives from most major fungal lineages. We also compiled 11 data matrices by subsampling genes or taxa from the full data matrix based on filtering criteria previously shown to improve phylogenomic inference. Analyses of these 12 data matrices using concatenation- and coalescent-based approaches yielded a robust phylogeny of the fungal kingdom, in which ∼85% of internal branches were congruent across data matrices and approaches used. We found support for several historically poorly resolved relationships as well as evidence for polytomies likely stemming from episodes of ancient diversification. By examining the relative evolutionary divergence of taxonomic groups of equivalent rank, we found that fungal taxonomy is broadly aligned with both genome sequence divergence and divergence time but also identified lineages where current taxonomic circumscription does not reflect their levels of evolutionary divergence. Our results provide a robust phylogenomic framework to explore the tempo and mode of fungal evolution and offer directions for future fungal phylogenetic and taxonomic studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1653-1665.e5
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021


  • ancient diversification
  • coalescence
  • concatenation
  • phylogenetic signal
  • phylogenomics
  • polytomy test
  • relative evolutionary divergence
  • taxonomy
  • zygomycetes


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