The classification of species belonging to the genus Berkhout is problematic. Therefore, we have determined the small ribosomal subunit RNA (srRNA) sequences of the type strains of three human pathogenic species; , and . The srRNA sequences were aligned with published eukaryotic srRNA sequences and evolutionary trees were inferred using a matrix optimization method. An evolutionary tree comprising all available eukaryotic srRNA sequences, including two other pathogenic species, and , showed that the yeasts diverge rather late in the course of eukaryote evolution, namely at the same depth as green plants, ciliates and some smaller taxa. The cluster of the higher fungi consists of 10 ascomycetes and ascomycete-like species with the first branches leading to , , and , in that order. Next there is a dichotomous divergence leading to a group consisting of , Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and and a smaller group comprising and The divergence pattern obtained on the basis of srRNA sequence data is also compared to various other chemotaxonomic data.


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