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Keywords:

  • DNA taxonomy;
  • ectomycorrhiza;
  • fungi;
  • molecular identification;
  • sequence database;
  • UNITE

Summary

  • • 
    Identification of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi is often achieved through comparisons of ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences with accessioned sequences deposited in public databases. A major problem encountered is that annotation of the sequences in these databases is not always complete or trustworthy. In order to overcome this deficiency, we report on UNITE, an open-access database.
  • • 
    UNITE comprises well annotated fungal ITS sequences from well defined herbarium specimens that include full herbarium reference identification data, collector/source and ecological data. At present UNITE contains 758 ITS sequences from 455 species and 67 genera of ECM fungi.
  • • 
    UNITE can be searched by taxon name, via sequence similarity using blastn, and via phylogenetic sequence identification using galaxie. Following implementation, galaxie performs a phylogenetic analysis of the query sequence after alignment either to pre-existing generic alignments, or to matches retrieved from a blast search on the UNITE data. It should be noted that the current version of UNITE is dedicated to the reliable identification of ECM fungi.
  • • 
    The UNITE database is accessible through the URL http://unite.zbi.ee