Phylogenomic analysis of a 55.1 kb 19-gene dataset resolves a monophyletic Fusarium that includes the Fusarium solani Species Complex

Phytopathology. 2020 Nov 17. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-08-20-0330-LE. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Scientific communication is facilitated by a data-driven, scientifically sound taxonomy that considers the end-user's needs and established successful practice. Previously (Geiser et al. 2013; Phytopathology 103:400-408. 2013), the Fusarium community voiced near unanimous support for a concept of Fusarium that represented a clade comprising all agriculturally and clinically important Fusarium species, including the F. solani Species Complex (FSSC). Subsequently, this concept was challenged by one research group (Lombard et al. 2015 Studies in Mycology 80: 189-245) who proposed dividing Fusarium into seven genera, including the FSSC as the genus Neocosmospora, with subsequent justification based on claims that the Geiser et al. (2013) concept of Fusarium is polyphyletic (Sandoval-Denis et al. 2018; Persoonia 41:109-129). Here we test this claim, and provide a phylogeny based on exonic nucleotide sequences of 19 orthologous protein-coding genes that strongly support the monophyly of Fusarium including the FSSC. We reassert the practical and scientific argument in support of a Fusarium that includes the FSSC and several other basal lineages, consistent with the longstanding use of this name among plant pathologists, medical mycologists, quarantine officials, regulatory agencies, students and researchers with a stake in its taxonomy. In recognition of this monophyly, 40 species recently described as Neocosmospora were recombined in Fusarium, and nine others were renamed Fusarium. Here the global Fusarium community voices strong support for the inclusion of the FSSC in Fusarium, as it remains the best scientific, nomenclatural and practical taxonomic option available.

Keywords: Evolution; Fungal Pathogens.