A phylogenetic investigation of the ascomycetous yeast genus was performed by using 18S rRNA gene sequence analysis. Comparative sequence analysis revealed the genus to be phylogenetically heterogeneous. The five varieties of [var. , var. , var. (type), var. and var. ] were found to have identical 18S rRNA gene sequences and formed a distinct group, quite separate from all other and non- species examined. was found to be the closest phylogenetic relative to the group, however a sequence divergence of approximately 2·3% suggests this species may belong to separate genus. The recently described species was found to exhibit a relatively close association with (= ), the type species of the genus The remaining two members of the genus, and , were found to form distinct lineages, displaying no specific association with any other or non- species. Based on comparative analysis of 18S rRNA genes it is apparent that the genus as presently constituted is not monophyletic, and that the five currently recognized species form separate sublines each potentially worthy of separate generic status. The genus should be restricted to the type species and its five varieties. Despite the five varieties of being genealogically indistinguishable at the 18S rRNA gene level, sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region revealed that the five varieties could be differentiated on both their ITS1 and their ITS2 sequences, providing further evidence of the value of ITS sequences for discrimination of yeasts at the subspecies level.


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