Classification of Fungi through Nucleic Acid Relatedness

  • Clete P. Kurtzman
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 102)


The separation of species in the genera Aspergillus anti Penicillium is primarily based, as with many groups of fungi, on differences in morphology and ability to grow under various conditions. The genetic complexity of these phenotypic characteristics is generally unknown and consequently their phylogenetic significance can only be guessed. Because mutation as well as selection resulting from prolonged cultivation on common culture media sometimes provokes sufficient change in strains to allow reclassification as different species, we can begin to appreciate the ephemeral nature of the characteristics upon which we presently define taxa. Species should be viewed as populations which are reproductively isolated from other populations or species (Dobzhansky, 1976). Consequently, a species so defined becomes a product of nature and not of the taxonomist. Definition of imperfect taxa on the extent of their reproductive isolation would seem unrealistic but, as I hope to demonstrate, this is attainable with reasonable accuracy though comparisons of nucleic acid relatedness.


Deoxyribonucleic Acid Buoyant Density Debaryomyces Hansenii Rhizopus Arrhizus Candida Maltosa 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clete P. Kurtzman
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Department of AgricultureNorthern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research ServicePeoriaUSA

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