Archaeorhizomycetes: Unearthing an Ancient Class of Ubiquitous Soil Fungi

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Science  12 Aug 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6044, pp. 876-879
DOI: 10.1126/science.1206958

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Estimates suggest that only one-tenth of the true fungal diversity has been described. Among numerous fungal lineages known only from environmental DNA sequences, Soil Clone Group 1 is the most ubiquitous. These globally distributed fungi may dominate below-ground fungal communities, but their placement in the fungal tree of life has been uncertain. Here, we report cultures of this group and describe the class, Archaeorhizomycetes, phylogenetically placed within subphylum Taphrinomycotina in the Ascomycota. Archaeorhizomycetes comprises hundreds of cryptically reproducing filamentous species that do not form recognizable mycorrhizal structures and have saprotrophic potential, yet are omnipresent in roots and rhizosphere soil and show ecosystem and host root habitat specificity.

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