The Monoblepharidomycetes is the sister class to the Chytridiomycetes in the phylum Chytridiomycota. The six known genera have thalli that are either monocentric and without rhizoids or produce hyphae with an independent evolutionary origin from the hyphae of higher fungi. On the basis of morphological characters and phylogenetic evidence from the small and large subunits of nuclear ribosomal RNA, we established two new genera, Sanchytrium and Telasphaerula, each with a single species. We re-analyzed intergeneric relationships within the monoblephs, and established two new families. The new genera significantly expand the known morphological and ecological diversity of the Monoblepharidomycetes by adding a monocentric, epibiotic, algal parasitic species and a rhizomycelial, saprotrophic species. Based on the presence of environmental sequences related to Sanchytrium strains, the Monoblepharidomycetes contain previously unsuspected diversity. The ribosomal DNA of the new genera contains an unusually high density of group I introns. We found 20 intron insertion positions including six that are new for rRNA genes (S1053, L803, L829, L961, L1844, and L2281).
Keywords: Group I introns; Parasitic fungi; Sanchytrium tribonematis; Telasphaerula gracilis; Tribonema; Xanthophyte.
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