, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 63-89,
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Laying the foundation for a taxonomic review of Puccinia coronata s.l. in a phylogenetic context

Abstract

Intra-specific classification of Puccinia coronata has been controversial, with previous approaches falling into three major categories: 1. A two-species system, namely P. coronifera and P. coronata; 2. The same two-species system subdivided into many formae speciales, in which the host range of each is restricted to species within one genus of Poaceae; 3. A one-species system, P. coronata, subdivided into a few varieties with host ranges that may overlap. To re-assess these concepts in the context of multigene analyses and comparative morphological assessments, data were generated for a comprehensive set of herbarium and recently collected specimens, representing a broad range of hosts and geographic origins. Phylogenetic analyses of a combined data set of DNA sequences for four loci (BT, COI, ITS, and RPB2) revealed a high degree of genetic variation. Morphological differences among phylogenetic lineages were overlapping but nine lineages were differentiated using calculated means for teliospore and urediniospore length/width as well as measurements for the teliospore hilum and digitation. The taxon infecting Avena also comprises collections from a wide range of other grass hosts while other lineages, such as those on Bromus and Agrostis, were restricted in host association. Type specimen DNA sequences included in the analyses resolved the placement of five previously described varieties. Based on evidence of host specificity, morphology and multigene analyses, we recognized seven species, one of which was further divided into two varieties. Expanded descriptions, illustrations and a synoptic key are provided. A new series, Puccinia Series Coronata, was erected to accommodate all the lineages comprising P. coronata sensu lato.