Molecular phylogenetic study at the generic boundary between the lichen-forming fungi Caloplaca and Xanthoria (Ascomycota, Teloschistaceae)
A molecular phylogenetic analysis of rDNA was performed for seven Caloplaca, seven Xanthoria, one Fulgensia and five outgroup species. Phylogenetic hypotheses are constructed based on nuclear small and large subunit rDNA, separately and in combination. Three strongly supported major monophyletic groups were revealed within the Teloschistaceae. One group represents the Xanthoria fallax-group. The second group includes three subgroups: (1) X. parietina and X. elegans; (2) basal placodioid Caloplaca species followed by speciations leading to X. polycarpa and X. candelaria; and (3) a mixture of placodioid and endolithic Caloplaca species. The third main monophyletic group represents a heterogeneous assemblage of Caloplaca and Fulgensia species with a drastically different metabolite content. We report here that the two genera Caloplaca and Xanthoria, as well as the subgenus Gasparrinia, are all polyphyletic. The taxonomic significance of thallus morphology in Teloschistaceae and the current delimitation of the genus Xanthoria is discussed in light of these results.
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