THE EVOLUTION OF ASEXUAL FUNGI: Reproduction, Speciation and Classification

Annu Rev Phytopathol. 1999;37:197-246. doi: 10.1146/annurev.phyto.37.1.197.


Phylogenetic and population genetic methods that compare nucleic acid variation are being used to identify species and populations of pathogenic fungi and determine how they reproduce in nature. These studies show that asexual or sexual reproductive morphology does not necessarily correlate with clonal or recombining reproductive behavior, and that fungi with all types of reproductive morphologies and behaviors can be accommodated by a phylogenetic species concept. Although approximately one fifth of described fungi have been thought to be asexual and clonal, recent studies have shown that they are also recombining. Whether a particular pathogen reproduces clonally or by recombination depends on factors relating to its biology and its distribution in space and time. Knowing the identity of species and populations and their reproductive modes, while taking a broad view of pathogen behavior in space and time, should enhance the ability of pathologists to control pathogens and even predict their behavior.