, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 111-126
Date: 06 Nov 2012

Contrasting phylogenetic patterns of anther smuts (Pucciniomycotina: Microbotryum) reflect phylogenetic patterns of their caryophyllaceous hosts

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Abstract

Anther smuts in the genus Microbotryum often show very high host specificity toward their caryophyllaceous hosts, but some of the larger host groups such as Dianthus are crucially undersampled for these parasites so that the question of host specificity cannot be answered conclusively. In this study we sequenced the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of members of the Microbotryum dianthorum species complex as well as their Dianthus hosts. We compared phylogenetic trees of these parasites including sequences of anther smuts from other Caryophyllaceae, mainly Silene, with phylogenies of Caryophyllaceae that are known to harbor anther smuts. Additionally we tested whether observed patterns in parasites are due to shared ancestry or if geographic separation is a factor that should be taken into consideration in delimitating species. Parasites on Dianthus showed mainly an arbitrary distribution on Dianthus hosts, whereas parasites on other Caryophyllaceae formed well-supported monophyletic clades that corresponded to restricted host groups. The same pattern was observed in the Caryophyllaceae studied: morphologically described Dianthus species did not correspond well with monophyletic clades based on molecular data, whereas other Caryophyllaceae mainly did. We suggest that these different patterns primarily result from different breeding systems and speciation times between different host groups as well as difficulties in species delimitations in the genus Dianthus.