Genetic diversity of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices as determined by mitochondrial large subunit rRNA gene sequences is considerably higher than previously expected
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- • Glomus intraradices is a widespread arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF), which has been found in an extremely broad range of habitats, indicating a high tolerance for environmental factors and a generalist life history strategy. Despite this ecological versatility, not much is known about the genetic diversity of this fungal species across different habitats or over large geographic scales.
- • A nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) approach for the mitochondrial rRNA large subunit gene (mtLSU), distinguished different haplotypes among cultivated isolates of G. intraradices and within mycorrhizal root samples from the field.
- • From analysis of 16 isolates of this species originating from five continents, 12 mitochondrial haplotypes were distinguished. Five additional mtLSU haplotypes were detected in field-collected mycorrhizal roots. Some introns in the mtLSU region appear to be stable over years of cultivation and are ancestral to the G. intraradices clade.
- • Genetic diversity within G. intraradices is substantially higher than previously thought, although some mtLSU haplotypes are widespread. A restriction fragment length polymorphism approach also was developed to distinguish mtLSU haplotypes without sequencing. Using this molecular tool, intraspecific genetic variation of an AMF species can be studied directly in field plants.