Comparative methods in fungal evolutionary biology: Theory, examples and potential applications

László G. Nagy, T. Papp, C. Vágvölgyi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Phylogenetic comparative approaches represent a very powerful group of methods to infer, recover or analyze patterns of evolution. They are oft en applied to reconstruct ancestral protein or nucleic acid sequences and ancestral states of morphological or physiological traits on a given phylogeny through which the species or sequences are related to each other. It is now possible to identify ancestral environments and geographic distribution or correlation between characters. Due to a surge in development of comparative methods in the last few years, new statistics, various Bayesian approaches and hypothesis testing frameworks have been proposed, which off er several advantages over traditional approaches. This chapter reviews some of the methods and the corresponding basic theory, as well as fungal examples and potential fields where comparative analyses can be used. Of the fungal examples, inference of the ancestral fruiting body types in the Agaricomycotina, the discovery that lichenization emerged very early in the Ascomycota, and that most ascomycete lineages are derived from lichen symbiotic ancestors have been dealt with, besides several other interesting questions have also been addressed. Today, the complexity of hypotheses, that can be tested, is surprisingly high. This tempts the fungal systematists and evolutionary biologists to test their ideas about evolution and adaptation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSystematics and Evolution of Fungi
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9781439878224
ISBN (Print)9781578087235
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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    Nagy, L. G., Papp, T., & Vágvölgyi, C. (2012). Comparative methods in fungal evolutionary biology: Theory, examples and potential applications. In Systematics and Evolution of Fungi (pp. 363-397). CRC Press.