Reconstructing the early evolution of Fungi using a six-gene phylogeny

Timothy Y. James, Frank Kauff, Conrad L. Schoch, P. Brandon Matheny, Valérie Hofstetter, Cymon J. Cox, Gail Celio, Cécile Gueidan, Emily Fraker, Jolanta Miadlikowska, H. Thorsten Lumbsch, Alexandra Rauhut, Valérie Reeb, A. Elizabeth Arnold, Anja Amtoft, Jason E. Stajich, Kentaro Hosaka, Gi Ho Sung, Desiree Johnson, Ben O'RourkeMichael Crockett, Manfred Binder, Judd M. Curtis, Jason C. Slot, Zheng Wang, Andrew W. Wilson, Arthur Schüßler, Joyce E. Longcore, Kerry O'Donnell, Sharon Mozley-Standridge, David Porter, Peter M. Letcher, Martha J. Powell, John W. Taylor, Merlin M. White, Gareth W. Griffith, David R. Davies, Richard A. Humber, Joseph B. Morton, Junta Sugiyama, Amy Y. Rossman, Jack D. Rogers, Don H. Pfister, David Hewitt, Karen Hansen, Sarah Hambleton, Robert A. Shoemaker, Jan Kohlmeyer, Brigitte Volkmann-Kohlmeyer, Robert A. Spotts, Maryna Serdani, Pedro W. Crous, Karen W. Hughes, Kenji Matsuura, Ewald Langer, Gitta Langer, Wendy A. Untereiner, Robert Lücking, Burkhard Büdel, David M. Geiser, André Aptroot, Paul Diederich, Imke Schmitt, Matthias Schultz, Rebecca Yahr, David S. Hibbett, François Lutzoni, David J. McLaughlin, Joseph W. Spatafora, Rytas Vilgalys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1417 Scopus citations


The ancestors of fungi are believed to be simple aquatic forms with flagellated spores, similar to members of the extant phylum Chytridiomycota (chytrids). Current classifications assume that chytrids form an early-diverging clade within the kingdom Fungi and imply a single loss of the spore flagellum, leading to the diversification of terrestrial fungi. Here we develop phylogenetic hypotheses for Fungi using data from six gene regions and nearly 200 species. Our results indicate that there may have been at least four independent losses of the flagellum in the kingdom Fungi. These losses of swimming spores coincided with the evolution of new mechanisms of spore dispersal, such as aerial dispersal in mycelial groups and polar tube eversion in the microsporidia (unicellular forms that lack mitochondria). The enigmatic microsporidia seem to be derived from an endoparasitic chytrid ancestor similar to Rozella allomycis, on the earliest diverging branch of the fungal phylogenetic tree.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)818-822
Number of pages5
Issue number7113
StatePublished - Oct 19 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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