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DNA sequence-based identification of Fusarium: Current status and future directions

O'Donnell, Kerry, Ward, Todd J., Roberts, Vincent A. R. G., Crous, Pedro W., Geiser, David M., Kang, Seogchan
Phytoparasitica 2015 v.43 no.5 pp. 583-595
1876-7184; 0334-2123
DNA, Fusarium, agricultural economics, antifungal agents, biosecurity, cornea, cross infection, disease control, food safety, fumonisins, humans, pathogen identification, patients, phylogeny, plant pathogenic fungi, secondary metabolites, sequence analysis, toxicity, toxigenic strains, trichothecenes, zearalenone
Fusarium ranks as one of the world’s most economically destructive and species-rich groups of mycotoxigenic plant pathogens (Aoki et al. 2014). These ubiquitous molds produce a plethora of toxic secondary metabolites, such as trichothecenes, zearalenone, fumonisins, and enniatins, which pose a significant threat to agricultural biosecurity, food safety, and plant, human and animal health (Marasas et al.1984). Fusarial-induced diseases of virtually every economically important plant cost the global agricultural economy multi-billion euro losses annually. Moreover, phylogenetically diverse fusaria, including plant pathogens (Short et al. 2011), cause infections in humans, with those involving the cornea and nails being the most common (Chang et al.2006 and references therein). Because fusaria are broadly resistant to the spectrum of antifungals currently available, disseminated infections in patients who are artificially immunosuppressed or immunocompromised and severely neutropenic are typically fatal (Balajee et al.2009). The likely reservoir of nosocomial fusarioses is the plumbing system, which has been shown to harbor the most common human opportunistic fusaria (Kuchar 1996; Short et al.2011). Accurate identification of the etiological and/or toxigenic agent is central to disease management and infection control (Wingfield et al. 2012). Thus, the primary focus of this mini-review is to provide a contemporary guide to the following three web-accessible resources for DNA sequence-based identification of Fusarium: FUSARIUM-ID (http://isolate.fusariumdb.org/; Geiser et al.2004; Park et al. 2010), Fusarium MLST (http://www.cbs.knaw.nl/fusarium/; O’Donnell et al.2010), and NCBI GenBank (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/). The following brief overview of Fusarium phylogenetic diversity is provided as background information for the sections on DNA sequence-based identification.