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Ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi form mutualistic interactions between plant roots and fungal mycelia.

The symbiosis provides the plant with important nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen, and the fungi receive photosynthetic products in return [].

Cycle sequencing was performed by the CEES ABI-laboratory using the ABI Big Dye Terminator sequencing buffer and v3.1 Cycle Sequencing kit (Life Technologies, Carlsbad, CA).

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Our results verify the transition from brown rot to ECM within Serpulaceae between 50 and 22 My BP.

Studying fungal distributions in an evolutionary context is relatively new, mainly due to the long-standing perception that fungi are more or less free from dispersal barriers, and that fungal distributions are primarily controlled by the distribution of hosts and substrata (see [].

The monophyletic basidiomycete order Boletales comprises various nutritional modes, including ECM, saprotrophy and parasitism [ trees and are known only from the temperate Southern Hemisphere. First, we wanted to further investigate phylogenetic relationships within Serpulaceae (previously described in [.

Secondly, we wanted to relate major Serpulaceae divergence events and ecological transitions to geologic and climatic conditions of the past.

The combination of fossils that correlate to divergence events in organismal phylogenies with increasingly realistic models of molecular evolution has increased the accuracy of molecular dating [], either in combination with fossil calibration or as the best available alternative when no reliably determined and correctly assigned fossils exist.

Unfortunately, the fossil record of fungi is sparse [], while brown rot and ectomycorrhiza have evolved several times independently from the ancient white rot state.

Sequences were assembled and edited using Bio Edit 7 [ We aligned the sequences manually using Bio Edit 7.

We assembled three datasets: Dataset1, consisting of a 2856 basepair (bp) long alignment that includes five genetic regions (nuclear ribosomal LSU, SSU and 5.8S, Dataset1 and 2 were analyzed using both Maximum Parsimony (MP) and Bayesian Inference (BI) phylogentic methods. We performed preliminary MP phylogenetic analyses on each DNA region separately to control visually for between-region incongruence prior to concatenation and final phylogenetic analyses.

Vicariance versus long distance dispersal are two alternative explanations to widely disjunct distributions, and have been identified to operate in most groups of organisms [].

Molecular dating makes it possible to relate organismal evolution to major ecological and geological events.

Sequences not generated for the present study were taken from Binder et al. We used a total of 79 accessions for the phylogenetic analyses (Dataset1) and 109 accessions in the dating analysis (Dataset2).

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