The phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity of the basidiomycetous yeast species Rhodosporidium kratochvilovae was investigated in a group of recent isolates and collection strains. A polyphasic taxonomic approach was followed which included micromorphological studies, nuclear staining, determination of sexual compatibility, physiological characterization, comparison of electrophoretic isoenzyme patterns, PCR fingerprinting, determination of mol% G+C, DNA-DNA reassociation experiments and 26S and ITS rDNA sequence analysis. The results allowed a more natural circumscription of the species, both from the genetic and phenotypic perspectives. The relationships with anamorphic species of the genus Rhodotorula were studied and isolates previously identified as Rhodotorula glutinis were found to belong to Rhodosporidium kratochvilovae. Other isolates included in the study were found to represent members of Rhodotorula glutinis var. dairenensis. Rhodosporidium kratochvilovae was found to include heterothallic strains, besides those already known to be self-sporulating. A total of 17 isolates, which were found to belong to this species, were heterothallic, self-sporulating and anamorphic strains. It is anticipated that integrated polyphasic studies of basidiomycetous yeasts will provide a more coherent classification system and the basis for accurate identification schemes, which in turn are essential for detailed ecological studies.


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