Author(s): Smith ME, Gryganskyi A, Bonito G, Nouhra E, MorenoArroyo B,
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Abstract Most studies of tissue differentiation and development have focused on animals and plants but many fungi form multi-cellular aggregations of spore-bearing tissue known as fruiting bodies or sporocarps. The ability to form sporocarps has arisen independently in several different evolutionary lineages of fungi. Evolutionary relationships of most sporocarp-forming fungi are well known, but the enigmatic zygomycete genus Modicella contains two species of sporocarp-forming fungi for which the phylogenetic affinities have not been explored based on molecular data. Species of Modicella have an uncertain trophic mode and have alternatively been considered members of the order Endogonales (which contains documented species of sporocarp-forming fungi) or the order Mortierellales (which contains no previously documented species of sporocarp-forming fungi). In this study we perform phylogenetic analyses based on ribosomal DNA of Modicella malleola from the Northern Hemisphere and Modicella reniformis from the Southern Hemisphere to determine the evolutionary affinities of the genus Modicella. Our analyses indicate that Modicella is a monophyletic genus of sporocarp-forming fungi nested within the Mortierellales, a group of microfungi with no previously documented sporocarp-forming species. Because Modicella is distantly related to all other known sporocarp-forming fungi, we infer that this lineage has independently evolved the ability form sporocarps. We conclude that the genus Modicella should be a high priority for comparative genomics studies to further elucidate the process of sporocarp formation in fungi. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Fungal Genet Biol
and referenced in Fungal Genomics & Biology