Molecular phylogeny and systematics of Polyblastia (Verrucariaceae, Eurotiomycetes) and allied genera.
Phylogenetic relationships of the lichen genus Polyblastia and closely related taxa in the family Verrucariaceae (Verrucariales, Chaetothyriomycetidae) were studied. A total of 130 sets of sequences (nuLSU rDNA, nuITS rDNA and RPB1 region A-D), including 129 newly generated sequences, were analysed. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred using a Bayesian approach based on two datasets. A first analysis of a larger, two-locus dataset (nuLSU and RPB1) for 128 members of the Verrucariaceae, confirmed the polyphyly of Polyblastia, Thelidium, Staurothele, and Verrucaria, as currently construed. The second analysis focused on 56 Polyblastia and allied taxa, but using an additional locus (nuITS rDNA) and two closely related outgroup taxa. The latter analysis revealed strongly supported groups, such as Polyblastia s. str., the Thelidium group (a mixture of Polyblastia, Thelidium, Staurothele and Verrucaria species). The genus Sporodictyon, which is here accepted, also accommodates Sporodictyon terrestre comb. nov. Morphological features traditionally used for characterizing Polyblastia, Thelidium, Staurothele and Verrucaria, such as spore septation and colour, occurrence of hymenial photobiont, involucrellum structure, and substrate preference, were found to be only partially consistent within the strongly supported clades, and thus are not always reliable features for characterizing natural groups.
Savić, S; Tibell, L; Gueidan, C; Lutzoni, F
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