Phylogenomic Analyses Support the Monophyly of Taphrinomycotina, Including Schizosaccharomyces Fission Yeasts

Mol Biol Evol. 2009 Jan;26(1):27-34. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msn221. Epub 2008 Oct 14.


Several morphologically dissimilar ascomycete fungi including Schizosaccharomyces, Taphrina, Saitoella, Pneumocystis, and Neolecta have been grouped into the taxon Taphrinomycotina (Archiascomycota or Archiascomycotina), originally based on rRNA phylogeny. These analyses lack statistically significant support for the monophyly of this grouping, and although confirmed by more recent multigene analyses, this topology is contradicted by mitochondrial phylogenies. To resolve this inconsistency, we have assembled phylogenomic mitochondrial and nuclear data sets from four distantly related taphrinomycotina taxa: Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Pneumocystis carinii, Saitoella complicata, and Taphrina deformans. Our phylogenomic analyses based on nuclear data (113 proteins) conclusively support the monophyly of Taphrinomycotina, diverging as a sister group to Saccharomycotina + Pezizomycotina. However, despite the improved taxon sampling, Taphrinomycotina continue to be paraphyletic with the mitochondrial data set (13 proteins): Schizosaccharomyces species associate with budding yeasts (Saccharomycotina) and the other Taphrinomycotina group as a sister group to Saccharomycotina + Pezizomycotina. Yet, as Schizosaccharomyces and Saccharomycotina species are fast evolving, the mitochondrial phylogeny may be influenced by a long-branch attraction (LBA) artifact. After removal of fast-evolving sequence positions from the mitochondrial data set, we recover the monophyly of Taphrinomycotina. Our combined results suggest that Taphrinomycotina is a legitimate taxon, that this group of species diverges as a sister group to Saccharomycotina + Pezizomycotina, and that phylogenetic positioning of yeasts and fission yeasts with mitochondrial data is plagued by a strong LBA artifact.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ascomycota / classification
  • Ascomycota / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Expressed Sequence Tags
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Phylogeny
  • Schizosaccharomyces / classification*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / cytology
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics*


  • DNA, Complementary
  • DNA, Fungal
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins