Toward a Fully Resolved Fungal Tree of Life

Annu Rev Microbiol. 2020 Sep 8:74:291-313. doi: 10.1146/annurev-micro-022020-051835. Epub 2020 Jul 13.


In this review, we discuss the current status and future challenges for fully elucidating the fungal tree of life. In the last 15 years, advances in genomic technologies have revolutionized fungal systematics, ushering the field into the phylogenomic era. This has made the unthinkable possible, namely access to the entire genetic record of all known extant taxa. We first review the current status of the fungal tree and highlight areas where additional effort will be required. We then review the analytical challenges imposed by the volume of data and discuss methods to recover the most accurate species tree given the sea of gene trees. Highly resolved and deeply sampled trees are being leveraged in novel ways to study fungal radiations, species delimitation, and metabolic evolution. Finally, we discuss the critical issue of incorporating the unnamed and uncultured dark matter taxa that represent the vast majority of fungal diversity.

Keywords: classification; deep phylogeny; phylogenomic inference; systematics; uncultured majority.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Fungi / classification*
  • Fungi / genetics*
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genomics
  • Phylogeny*