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Review
, 16, 197-210
eCollection

Taxonomy and Evolution of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces in the Omics Era - Past, Present and Future

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Review

Taxonomy and Evolution of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces in the Omics Era - Past, Present and Future

Chi-Ching Tsang et al. Comput Struct Biotechnol J.

Abstract

Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces are diverse, phenotypically polythetic genera encompassing species important to the environment, economy, biotechnology and medicine, causing significant social impacts. Taxonomic studies on these fungi are essential since they could provide invaluable information on their evolutionary relationships and define criteria for species recognition. With the advancement of various biological, biochemical and computational technologies, different approaches have been adopted for the taxonomy of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces; for example, from traditional morphotyping, phenotyping to chemotyping (e.g. lipotyping, proteotypingand metabolotyping) and then mitogenotyping and/or phylotyping. Since different taxonomic approaches focus on different sets of characters of the organisms, various classification and identification schemes would result. In view of this, the consolidated species concept, which takes into account different types of characters, is recently accepted for taxonomic purposes and, together with the lately implemented 'One Fungus - One Name' policy, is expected to bring a more stable taxonomy for Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces, which could facilitate their evolutionary studies. The most significant taxonomic change for the three genera was the transfer of Penicillium subgenus Biverticillium to Talaromyces (e.g. the medically important thermally dimorphic 'P. marneffei' endemic in Southeast Asia is now named T. marneffei), leaving both Penicillium and Talaromyces as monophyletic genera. Several distantly related Aspergillus-like fungi were also segregated from Aspergillus, making this genus, containing members of both sexual and asexual morphs, monophyletic as well. In the current omics era, application of various state-of-the-art omics technologies is likely to provide comprehensive information on the evolution of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces and a stable taxonomy will hopefully be achieved.

Keywords: Aspergillus; Classification; Evolution; Omics; Penicillium; Talaromyces.

Figures

Fig. 1
Fig. 1
Morphological features of Aspergillus, Penicillium and Talaromyces species. (a) Colony morphology after 7 days of incubation on dichloran 18% glycerol agar, (b) a conidiophore (magnification 400×) and (c) ascomata (Eurotium-like sexual stage, magnification 200×) of A. glaucus NRRL 116T. (d) Colony morphology after 7 days of incubation on malt extract agar (MEA), (e) a conidiophore (magnification 400×) and (f) an ascocarp (Emericella-like sexual stage, magnification 100×) of A. nidulans NRRL 187T. (g) Colony morphology after 7 days of incubation on MEA and (h and i) conidiophores (magnification 400×) of P. expansum NRRL 976T. (j) Colony morphology after 7 days of incubation on MEA, (k) conidiophores (magnification 400×) and (l) an ascocarp (Eupenicillium-like sexual stage, magnification 100×) of P. kewense NRRL 3332T. (m) Colony morphology after 7 days of incubation on MEA, (n) conidiophores (magnification 400×) and (o) an ascocarp (magnification 100×) of T. flavus NRRL 2098T.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2
Schematic representation of the phylogenetic relationship, as inferred by Houbraken & Samson [3], Yilmaz et al. [63] and Kocsubé et al. [60], amongst members of the order Eurotiales. Aspergillus and Penicillium are sister genera of the family Aspergillaceae whereas Talaromyces is more distantly related to those two genera and belongs to a separate family, Trichocomaceae.

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