Evolution of Gilled Mushrooms and Puffballs Inferred from Ribosomal DNA Sequences

TitleEvolution of Gilled Mushrooms and Puffballs Inferred from Ribosomal DNA Sequences
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1997
AuthorsHibbett DS, Pine EM, Langer E, Langer G, Donoghue MJ
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
KeywordsBiological Sciences, General Science

Homobasidiomycete fungi display many complex fruiting body morphologies, including mushrooms and puffballs, but their anatomical simplicity has confounded efforts to understand the evolution of these forms. We performed a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis of homobasidiomycetes, using sequences from nuclear and mitochondrial ribosomal DNA, with an emphasis on understanding evolutionary relationships of gilled mushrooms and puffballs. Parsimony-based optimization of character states on our phylogenetic trees suggested that strikingly similar gilled mushrooms evolved at least six times, from morphologically diverse precursors. Approximately 87% of gilled mushrooms are in a single lineage, which we call the ‘‘euagarics.’’ Recently discovered 90 million-year-old fossil mushrooms are probably euagarics, suggesting that (i) the origin of this clade must have occurred no later than the mid-Cretaceous and (ii) the gilled mushroom morphology has been maintained in certain lineages for tens of

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