The Mucorales (Mucoromycotina) are one of the most ancient groups of fungi comprising ubiquitous, mostly saprotrophic organisms. The first comprehensive molecular studies 11 yr ago revealed the traditional classification scheme, mainly based on morphology, as highly artificial. Since then only single clades have been investigated in detail but a robust classification of the higher levels based on DNA data has not been published yet. Therefore we provide a classification based on a phylogenetic analysis of four molecular markers including the large and the small subunit of the ribosomal DNA, the partial actin gene and the partial gene for the translation elongation factor 1-alpha. The dataset comprises 201 isolates in 103 species and represents about one half of the currently accepted species in this order. Previous family concepts are reviewed and the family structure inferred from the multilocus phylogeny is introduced and discussed. Main differences between the current classification and preceding concepts affects the existing families Lichtheimiaceae and Cunninghamellaceae, as well as the genera Backusella and Lentamyces which recently obtained the status of families along with the Rhizopodaceae comprising Rhizopus, Sporodiniella and Syzygites. Compensatory base change analyses in the Lichtheimiaceae confirmed the lower level classification of Lichtheimia and Rhizomucor while genera such as Circinella or Syncephalastrum completely lacked compensatory base changes.
Keywords: Mucorales; families; phylogeny.