Phylogenesis of fission yeasts. Contradictions surrounding the origin of a century old genus

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Abstract

The phylogenesis of fungi is controversial due to their simple morphology and poor fossilization. Traditional classification supported by morphological studies and physiological traits placed the fission yeasts in one group with ascomycetous yeasts. The rRNA sequence comparisions, however, revealed an enormous evolutionary gap between Saccharomyces and Schizosaccharomyces. As shown in this review, the protein sequences also show a large gap which is almost as large as that separating Schizosaccharomyces from higher animals. Since the two yeasts share features (both cytological and molecular) in common which are also characteristic of ascomycetous fungi, their separation must have taken place later than the sequence differences may suggest. Possible reasons for the paradox are discussed. The sequence data also suggest a slower evolutionary rate in the Schizosaccharomyces lineage than in the Saccharomyces branch. In the fission yeast lineage two ramifications can be supposed. First S. japonicus (Hasegawaea japonica) branched off, then S. octosporus (Octosporomyces octosporus) separated from S. pombe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-149
Number of pages31
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek, International Journal of General and Molecular Microbiology
Volume68
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1995

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Schizosaccharomyces
Phylogeny
Saccharomyces
Fungi
Yeasts
Proteins

Keywords

  • evolution
  • Schizosaccharomyces
  • sequence comparison
  • taxonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology

Cite this

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