ABSTRACT: About 15,000 species of ascomycete fungi lack a known sexual state. For fungi with asexual states in the anamorph genera Embellisia, Ulocladium, and Alternaria, six species have known sexual states but more than 50 species do not. In sexual filamentous ascomycetes, opposite mating type information at the MAT1 locus regulates mating and the opposite mating type genes each have a clonal, non-recombining phylogenetic history. We used PCR to amplify and sequence fragments of the opposite mating type genes from three supposedly asexual species, A. brassicae, A. brassicicola and A. tenuissima. Each haploid fungal isolate had just one mating type, but both mating types were present in all the three species. We sequenced the ribosomal ITS regions for isolates of opposite mating type, for the three asexual species and four known related sexual species. In a phylogenetic analysis including other ITS sequences from GenBank, the three asexual species were not closely related to any of the known sexual species. Isolates of opposite mating type but the same species had identical ITS sequences. During any period of asexual evolutionary history, lineages of each mating type would have had a separate evolutionary history and any ITS substitutions shared between isolates of opposite mating type would have had to accumulate by convergence. Allowing for varying substitution rates and assuming a Poisson distribution of substitutions, the probability that isolates of opposite mating type shared an ITS substitution through convergence was low. This suggests that isolates of opposite mating type of A. brassicae, A. brassicicola and A. tenuissima were exchanging substitutions through sexual or parasexual reproduction while the ITS was evolving. If sexuality was lost, it was lost after the period of evolutionary history represented by the shared substitutions.
Mycological Research 03/2003; 107(Pt 2):169-82. · 2.81 Impact Factor