Evolutionary relationships within the fungi: analyses of nuclear small subunit rRNA sequences. Academic Article uri icon


  • Nucleotide sequences of the small subunit ribosomal RNA (18S) gene were used to investigate evolutionary relationships within the Fungi. The inferred tree topologies are in general agreement with traditional classifications in the following ways: (1) the Chytridiomycota and Zygomycota appear to be basal groups within the Fungi. (2) The Ascomycota and Basidiomycota are a derived monophyletic group. (3) Relationships within the Ascomycota are concordant with traditional orders and divide the hemi- and euascomycetes into distinct lineages. (4) The Basidiomycota is divided between the holobasidiomycetes and phragmobasidiomycetes. Conflicts with traditional classification were limited to weakly supported branches of the tree. Strongly supported relationships were robust to minor changes in alignment, method of analysis, and various weighting schemes. Weighting, either of transversions or by site, did not convincingly improve the status of poorly supported portions of the tree. The rate of variation at particular sites does not appear to be independent of lineage, suggesting that covariation of sites may be an important phenomenon in these genes.

publication date

  • September 1992