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A multi-gene phylogeny provides additional insight into the relationships between several Ascosphaera species

Klinger, E.G., James, R.R., Youssef, N.N., Welker, D.L.
Journal of invertebrate pathology 2013 v.112 no.1 pp. 41-48
Apis mellifera, Ascosphaera, DNA-directed RNA polymerase, Eremascus, Megachile, chalk brood, fungi, honey bees, internal transcribed spacers, loci, paraphyly, pathogens, ribosomal RNA, saprophytes, solitary bees
Ascosphaera fungi are highly associated with social and solitary bees, with some species being pathogenic to bees (causing chalkbrood) while others are not, and proper identification within this genus is important. Unfortunately, morphological characterizations can be difficult, and molecular characterizations have only used one genetic region. We evaluated multiple phylogenies of the Ascosphaera using up to six loci: the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region, 18S rRNA, 28S rRNA, Elongation Factor-1α (EF-1α) the RNA polymerase II largest subunit (RPB1), and the second largest subunit (RPB2). The ITS sequence alone produced an inadequate phylogeny, and the addition of both the 18S and 28S rRNA loci to the ITS sequence produced a phylogeny similar to that based on all six genetic regions. For all phylogenies, Ascosphaera torchioi was in a separate clade that was the most basal, with a strong genetic similarity to Eremascus albus, introducing the possibility of paraphyly within Ascosphaera. Also, based on this new phylogeny, we now suggest that the Apis mellifera (honey bee) pathogens arose within a group of saprophytes, and the Megachile (leafcutting bees) pathogens arose separately.