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Lichen Evolution & Systematics :

Omphalina/Coccomyxa as a model system (DEB-9321828)

In 1994 I was awarded an NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant (DEB-9321828) entitled Phylogeny in the genus Omphalina (Basidiomycota, Agaricales) and the evolutionary consequences of mutualism. The main objective of this project was to develop a fungal-algal (lichen) model system suited for examining the assumptions and predictions of a growing body of theory on mutualism within a phylogenetic framework. This approach is critical for any significant advancement in our understanding of the evolutionary implications of transitions to mutualism. The model system we selected included closely related mushroom species of the genus Omphalina (Basidiomycota, Agaricales), where some species form an obligatory mutualistic (lichen) association with the unicellular green alga Coccomyxa. One of the specific goals of this proposal, was to gather multiple molecular data sets (large subunit, ITS1, ITS2, and 5.8S nrDNA) for 20 mutualist and non-mutualist species of Omphalina and species from related genera. Another goal was the enhancement of our ability as systematists to deal with multiple conflicting data sets in phylogenetic studies. Finally, a major goal of this study was to demonstrate that links between rates of DNA evolution and traits or behaviors of organisms can be investigated using comparative methods.

Publications and data sets resulting from NSF grant DEB-9321828:

Lutzoni, F. 1997. Phylogeny of lichen- and non lichen-forming omphalinoid mushrooms and the utility of testing for combinability among multiple data sets. Systematic Biology 46:373-406 (journal cover).
Download publication (PDF file)
Download data set (Stuffit file)

Lutzoni, F., and Pagel, M. 1997. Accelerated evolution as a consequence of transitions to mutualism. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 94:11422-11427. This PNAS paper was the subject of an article published on the ScienceNow (AAAS) website.
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Lutzoni, F., and Vilgalys, R. 1995a. Integration of morphological and molecular datasets in estimating fungal phylogenies. Canadian Journal of Botany 73(Suppl. 1): S649-S659.

Lutzoni, F., and Vilgalys, R. 1995b. Omphalina (Basidiomycota, Agaricales) as a model system for the study of coevolution in lichenized fungi. Special Issue of Cryptogamic Botany 5: 82-97.

Department of Biology, Duke University, Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708
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