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Sex does not sell: the argument for using the terms “anamorph” and “teleomorph” for fungi

Kirschner, Roland
Mycological progress 2019 v.18 no.1-2 pp. 305-312
Ascomycota, Basidiomycota, anamorphs, biotechnology, genetic recombination, humans, mycology, ontogeny, plant pathogenic fungi, teleomorphs, terminology
Using the adequate morph terminology is an important tool for describing the different stages of fungi with their often hidden and flexible sexual processes. These processes play significant roles in the evolution and spread of pathogenic fungi as well as their antifungal resistance. Their knowledge is also the base for control of human and plant pathogenic fungi as well as strain improvement in biotechnology. Among all organisms, the heterokaryotic stage, i.e., the intermediate stage between plasmogamy and karyogamy is unique for Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. These fungi show a high flexibility of sexuality by the gradual reduction of sexual processes in the teleomorphs and the occurrence of genetic recombination processes in the anamorphs. Our lack of knowledge about such details of development in most species of fungi justifies maintaining the unique morph terms “anamorph” and “teleomorph” in mycology instead of an incorrectly simplified application of the ontogenetic terms “asexual” and “sexual.”