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DNA sequence incongruence and inconsistent morphology obscure species boundaries in the Teratosphaeria suttonii species complex

Taole, M.M., Burgess, T.I.ORCID: 0000-0002-7962-219X, Gryzenhout, M., Wingfield, B.D. and Wingfield, M.J. (2012) DNA sequence incongruence and inconsistent morphology obscure species boundaries in the Teratosphaeria suttonii species complex. Mycoscience, 53 (4). pp. 270-283.

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Teratosphaeria suttonii (=Kirramyces epicoccoides) is a leaf pathogen that can cause premature defoliation, reduced growth and vigor, and subsequent tree death of many Eucalyptus species. Although the fungus primarily infects mature leaves in the lower canopy, infections can spread to younger leaves during continued epidemics or when trees are stressed. Teratosphaeria suttonii has a wide distribution in Australia and has been introduced to many other parts of the world, most probably with germplasm used to establish plantations. The aim of this study was to establish the phylogenetic relationships between T. suttonii isolates from different countries and to consider whether cryptic species exist in a species complex. DNA from parts of the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer, beta-tubulin, and elongation factor-1 alpha genes was sequenced and analyzed for isolates from throughout the range of T. suttonii in Australia, and from six countries (China, Indonesia, South Africa, Uruguay, United States, and Vietnam) where the pathogen is introduced. Morphometrics of conidia produced both in vivo and in vitro were also considered. Analysis of the sequence data resulted in incongruent genealogies. Furthermore, groups of isolates in the genealogies could not be linked to area of origin. Similarly, differences in conidial morphology could not be linked to any of the phylogenetic groups. There was no evidence of distinct species boundaries, and isolates from Australia were closely related to those from other parts of the world. The results of this study support the treatment of T. suttonii as a morphologically and genetically diverse species in its natural range in Australia. The diversity is reflected in introduced populations.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Springer Verlag
Copyright: © The Mycological Society of Japan and Springer 2011
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