The genera Ustilago, Sporisorium and Macalpinomyces are a polyphyletic complex of plant pathogenic fungi. The four main morphological characters used to define these genera have been considered homoplasious and not useful for resolving the complex. This study re-evaluates character homology and discusses the use of these characters for defining monophyletic groups recovered from a reconstructed phylogeny using four nuclear loci. Generic delimitation of smut fungi based on their hosts is also discussed as a means for identifying genera within this group. Morphological characters and host specificity can be used to circumscribe genera within the Ustilago-Sporisorium-Macalpinomyces complex.

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Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi

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McTaggart, A. R., Shivas, R. G., Geering, A. D. W., Callaghan, B., Vánky, K., & Scharaschkin, T. (2012). Soral synapomorphies are significant for the systematics of the Ustilago-Sporisorium-Macalpinomyces complex (Ustilaginaceae). Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 29(1), 63–77.