J Syst Evol ›› 2010, Vol. 48 ›› Issue (6): 435-444.doi: 10.1111/j.1759-6831.2010.00100.x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Molecular phylogeney of the entomopathogenic fungi of the genus Cordyceps (Ascomycota: Clavicipitaceae) and its evolutionary implications

1Li-Hua TIAN 1Bo HU 1Hui ZHOU 2Wei-Ming ZHANG 1Liang-Hu QU 1Yue-Qin CHEN*   

  1. 1(Key Laboratory of Gene Engineering of the Ministry of Education, State Key Laboratory of Biocontrol, Zhongshan University, Guangzhou 510275, China)
    2(Microbiology Institute of Guangdong(HMIGD), Guangzhou 510070, China)
  • Received:2009-10-11 Online:2010-08-30 Published:2010-11-18

Abstract: Cordyceps is an endoparasite ascomycetous genus containing approximately 450 species with a diversity of insect hosts, traditionally included in the family Clavicipitaceae of Ascomycota. Establishing the relationships among species with a varied range of morphologies and hosts is of importance to our understanding of the phylogeny and co-evolution of parasites and hosts in entomopathogenic ascomycetes. To this end, we used a combination of molecular index and morphological characters from 40 representative species to carry out comprehensive molecular phylogenetic analyses. Based on the phylogenetic tree, we used the program DISCRETE for inferring the rates of evolution and finding ancestral states of morphological character. The phylogenetic analyses revealed two important points. (i) Types of perithecia attached to stroma reflected an evolutionary trend in Cordyceps. The vertically immersed perithecia form was the ancestral state, superficial and obliquely immersed perithecia were derived characters, obliquely immersed was irreversible. Species with obliquely immersed perithecia were in a closely related group and were the derived group. (ii) A strong correlation between fungal relatedness and the microhabitat supported the hypothesis that the host jumps through commingling in soil microhabitats. Based on the results of these analyses, host switching explains the diversity of entomopathogenic fungi of the genus Cordyceps.

Key words: Cordyceps, entomopathogenic fungi, evolutionary implication, molecular phylogeny.

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