Saccharomyces Sensu Stricto: Systematics, Genetic Diversity and Evolution

J Biosci Bioeng. 2003;96(1):1-9.


Saccharomyces sensu stricto is a species complex that includes most of the yeast strains relevant in the fermentation industry as well as in basic science. The taxonomy of these yeasts has always been controversial, particularly at species level. Over the years, the grouping of Saccharomyces sensu stricto yeasts has undergone changes in accordance with the system employed in classifying yeast cultures. Names of species and single isolates have also undergone changes that have caused confusion for yeast scientists and fermentation technologists. Recent findings have demonstrated that Saccharomyces hayanus and S. pastorianus are not homogeneous and do not seem to be natural groups. The present work examines the current trends in systematics studies, evidences the importance and mechanism of genetic variation and explores the most recent evolutionary theories as a way to elucidate the mechanism of speciation and achieve a more natural grouping of Saccharomyces sensu stricto species.