Conflict between reproductive gene trees and species phylogeny among heterothallic and pseudohomothallic members of the filamentous ascomycete genus Neurospora

Fungal Genet Biol. 2010 Oct;47(10):869-78. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2010.06.008. Epub 2010 Jul 1.


In this study, we investigated the genealogies of genes important for sexual identity, i.e. mating-type (mat) and pheromone-receptor (pre) genes, among heterothallic and peudohomothallic taxa of Neurospora. The resulting genealogies were compared with the species phylogeny derived from non-coding sequences. We found conflicting topologies between the reproductive genealogies and the species phylogeny, and these conflicts were supported by both node support analyses and likelihood tests on the relative fit of datasets to alternative phylogenetic hypotheses. We argue that reproductive genes are more permeable to gene flow, i.e. are more often introgressed between species of Neurospora, than other parts of the genome. Certain conflicts between the species phylogeny and both mat genealogies were observed, suggesting that the two mating-type idiomorphs were selectively introgressed into a species from a single ancestral source. Taken together, the results presented here highlight complex evolutionary trajectories of reproductive genes in the fungal kingdom, which may be of importance for reproductive behavior in natural populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Flow
  • Genes, Mating Type, Fungal*
  • Neurospora / classification*
  • Neurospora / genetics*
  • Neurospora / growth & development
  • Phylogeny
  • Receptors, Pheromone / genetics*
  • Reproduction


  • Receptors, Pheromone