Loss of meiosis in Aspergillus

David M. Geiser, William E. Timberlake, Michael L. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


If strictly mitotic asexual fungi lack recombination, the conventional view predicts that they are recent derivatives from older meiotic lineages. We tested this by inferring phylogenetic relationships among closely related meiotic and strictly mitotic taxa with Aspergillus conidial (mitotic) states. Phylogenies were constructed by using DNA sequences from the mitochondrial small ribosomal subunit, the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacers, and the nuclear 5.8S ribosomal gene. Over 920 bp of sequence was analyzed for each taxon. Phylogenetic analysis of both the mitochondrial and nuclear data sets showed at least four clades that possess both meiotic and strictly mitotic taxa. These results support the hypothesis that strictly mitotic lineages arise frequently from more ancient meiotic lineages with Aspergillus conidial states. Many of the strictly mitotic species examined retained characters that may be vestiges of a meiotic state, including the production of sclerotia, sclerotium-like structures, and hulle cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)809-817
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular biology and evolution
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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