Ulocladium systematics revisited: Phylogeny and taxonomic status

Farhana Runa, Myung Soo Park, Barry M. Pryor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The genus Ulocladium represents phaeodictyosporic Hyphomycetes that produce conidia that are essentially obovoid in shape. Previous molecular studies that included Ulocladium and related taxa in Alternaria, Embellisia, and Stemphylium revealed a conflict between morphology and phylogeny, and Ulocladium was supported as polyphyletic with a paraphyletic core group. Moreover, the genus consistently resolved within a larger Alternaria/Ulocladium clade, resulting in paraphyly of Alternaria and questions as to the taxonomic status of Ulocladium. In the present study, 13 Ulocladium species and three genetic loci were included for a more comprehensive systematic analysis of the genus than had previously been conducted. Total genomic DNA was extracted from representative taxa and sequences were determined for the nuclear internal transcribed spacer region, including the 5.8S rDNA gene, and the protein-coding genes glyceraldehyde-3- phosphate dehydrogenase and Alt a1. Subsequent phylogenetic analyses based on maximum parsimony and Bayesian methods included related Alternaria, Embellisia, and Stemphylium spp. Results supported previous findings of polyphyletic and paraphyletic relationships of Ulocladium among other taxa. Ten Ulocladium species clustered into a core Ulocladium clade and all taxa possessed the key diagnostic feature of Ulocladium, namely, conidia essentially obovoid in shape. However, A. cheiranthi and E. indefessa also clustered within this group with high bootstrap support but did not posses this diagnostic feature. This paraphyletic clade resolved basal to the core Alternaria clade with high bootstrap support, unlike previous studies in which its position was imbedded within the primary Alternaria clade. Thus, the status of the genus as an independent lineage and a unique taxon is strongly supported. As previously reported, U. alternariae and U. oudemansii, which posses the key conidium characteristics of Ulocladium, clustered as a separate clade sister to the core Ulocladium clade. Further studies are necessary to determine if these taxa represent an independent lineage or share a common ancestor with other Ulocladium species. Obovoid conidia were poorly represented in the isolate of U. lanuginosum that was included in these analyses (the only U. lanuginosum isolate currently available), and the isolate resolved as A. radicina based upon all three loci sequenced. Based upon these data and the origin of the isolate, which was originally deposited as A. malvae, a reassessment of its identity is supported.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-47
Number of pages13
JournalMycological Progress
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Alt a1
  • Bayesian inference
  • Gpd
  • ITS
  • Parsimony
  • Ulocladium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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