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Systematics of Amanita: An Exploration of Molecular Methods. (Botany & Plant Ecology).

Systematics of Amanita: An Exploration of Molecular Methods. Heather E. Hallen*, Michigan State University, Plant Biology Department, and Gerard C. Adams, Michigan State University, Plant Pathology Department, East Lansing, MI 48824

The genus Amanita contains mushrooms that have been intensively studied for a variety of reasons: their large and attractive appearance, the existence of several desirable edible species, and the production of hallucinogenic and lethal toxins by several species and thus their role in human and animal poisonings. The fungi are mostly obligate mycorrhizal associates with trees. A number of difficulties attend the study of this genus. They grow poorly and will not fruit in culture. Inhibitory compounds make DNA extraction for molecular studies difficult. Alignment of DNA sequences is difficult because the species are evolving at a considerably faster rate than other basidiomycetes. We discuss the roles of molecular tools in Amanita systematic studies, giving several examples from our recent research. Different types of DNA sequence data, the ITS and 28S nuclear ribosomal regions, the protein-coding RPB1, and beta-tubulin genes are compared. Different methods for building phylogenies are contrasted. The use of a sequence database and RFLPs for the identification of Amanita species parasitized by another fungus is outlined.

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Article Details
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Publication:Michigan Academician
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2002
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