Species boundaries within Saprolegnia (Saprolegniales, Oomycota) based on morphological and DNA sequence data

Mycologia. May-Jun 2007;99(3):421-9. doi: 10.3852/mycologia.99.3.421.


Saprolegnia is a common and widespread genus of Oomycetes, however species identifications are difficult and uncertain. To test whether keys based on morphological characters could identify species as determined by molecular characters we determined partial DNA sequences for the 28S rRNA gene and the complete internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region for 55 isolates belonging to Saprolegnia and one isolate of Protoachlya hypogyna that exhibited saprolegnoid zoospore discharge in water culture. Phylogenetic analyses of the combined sequence data yielded 10 robustly supported clades that probably represent separate species. Morphological analyses of all isolates revealed that each DNA-based clade could be delimited from others by autapomorphic or unique combinations of morphological character states but not without employing several features previously not used at the species level. Taxonomic implications of these results are discussed and recommendations for less equivocal characterization of new Saprolegnia species are made.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 28S / genetics
  • Saprolegnia / classification*
  • Saprolegnia / cytology
  • Saprolegnia / genetics


  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • DNA, Ribosomal Spacer
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 28S