The genus Calonectria includes many important plant pathogens with a wide global distribution. In order to better understand the reproductive biology of these fungi, we characterised the structure of the mating type locus and flanking genes using the genome sequences for seven Calonectria species. Primers to amplify the mating type genes in other species were also developed. PCR amplification of the mating type genes and multi-gene phylogenetic analyses were used to investigate the mating strategies and evolution of mating type in a collection of 70 Calonectria species residing in 10 Calonectria species complexes. Results showed that the organisation of the MAT locus and flanking genes is conserved. In heterothallic species, a novel MAT gene, MAT1-2-12 was identified in the MAT1-2 idiomorph; the MAT1-1 idiomorph, in most cases, contained the MAT1-1-3 gene. Neither MAT1-1-3 nor MAT1-2-12 was found in homothallic Calonectria (Ca.) hongkongensis, Ca. lateralis, Ca. pseudoturangicola and Ca. turangicola. Four different homothallic MAT locus gene arrangements were observed. Ancestral state reconstruction analysis provided evidence that the homothallic state was basal in Calonectria and this evolved from a heterothallic ancestor.

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Naturalis Biodiversity Center
Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi

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Naturalis journals & series

Li, J.Q., Wingfield, B.D., Wingfield, M.J., Barnes, I, Fourie, A, Crous, P.W, & Chen, S.F. (2020). Mating genes in Calonectria and evidence for a heterothallic ancestral state. Persoonia - Molecular Phylogeny and Evolution of Fungi, 45, 163–176. doi:10.3767/persoonia.2020.45.06