Background: To date, most fungal phylogenies have been derived from single gene comparisons, or from concatenated alignments of a small number of genes. The increase in fungal genome sequencing presents an opportunity to reconstruct evolutionary events using entire genomes. As a tool for future comparative, phylogenomic and phylogenetic studies, we used both supertrees and concatenated alignments to infer relationships between 42 species of fungi for which complete genome sequences are available.
Results: A dataset of 345,829 genes was extracted from 42 publicly available fungal genomes. Supertree methods were employed to derive phylogenies from 4,805 single gene families. We found that the average consensus supertree method may suffer from long-branch attraction artifacts, while matrix representation with parsimony (MRP) appears to be immune from these. A genome phylogeny was also reconstructed from a concatenated alignment of 153 universally distributed orthologs. Our MRP supertree and concatenated phylogeny are highly congruent. Within the Ascomycota, the sub-phyla Pezizomycotina and Saccharomycotina were resolved. Both phylogenies infer that the Leotiomycetes are the closest sister group to the Sordariomycetes. There is some ambiguity regarding the placement of Stagonospora nodurum, the sole member of the class Dothideomycetes present in the dataset. Within the Saccharomycotina, a monophyletic clade containing organisms that translate CTG as serine instead of leucine is evident. There is also strong support for two groups within the CTG clade, one containing the fully sexual species Candida lusitaniae, Candida guilliermondii and Debaryomyces hansenii, and the second group containing Candida albicans, Candida dubliniensis, Candida tropicalis, Candida parapsilosis and Lodderomyces elongisporus. The second major clade within the Saccharomycotina contains species whose genomes have undergone a whole genome duplication (WGD), and their close relatives. We could not confidently resolve whether Candida glabrata or Saccharomyces castellii lies at the base of the WGD clade.
Conclusion: We have constructed robust phylogenies for fungi based on whole genome analysis. Overall, our phylogenies provide strong support for the classification of phyla, sub-phyla, classes and orders. We have resolved the relationship of the classes Leotiomyctes and Sordariomycetes, and have identified two classes within the CTG clade of the Saccharomycotina that may correlate with sexual status.