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Species of the ascomycete genus Mycosphaerella are regarded as some of the most destructive leaf pathogens of a large number of economically important crop plants. Amongst these, approximately 60 Mycosphaerella spp. have been identified from various Eucalyptus spp. where they cause leaf diseases collectively known as Mycosphaerella Leaf Disease (MLD). Species concepts for this group of fungi remain confused, and hence their species identification is notoriously difficult. Thus, the introduction of DNA sequence comparisons has become the definitive characteristic used to distinguish species of Mycosphaerella. Sequences of the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region of the ribosomal RNA operon have most commonly been used to consider species boundaries in Mycosphaerella. However, sequences for this gene region do not always provide sufficient resolution for cryptic taxa. The aim of this study was, therefore, to use DNA sequences for three loci, ITS, Elongation factor 1-alpha (EF-1{alpha}) and Actin (ACT) to reconsider species boundaries for Mycosphaerella spp. from Eucalyptus. A further aim was to study the anamorph concepts and resolve the deeper nodes of Mycosphaerella, for which part of the Large Subunit (LSU) of the nuclear rRNA operon was sequenced. The ITS and EF-1{alpha} gene regions were found to be useful, but the ACT gene region did not provide species-level resolution in Mycosphaerella. A phylogeny of the combined DNA datasets showed that species of Mycosphaerella from Eucalyptus cluster in two distinct groups, which might ultimately represent discrete genera.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStudies in Mycology
Journal publication date2006

ID: 433887