Research Interests and Results


Research Area
Systematic Studies of Mucorales

Current Research
Taxonomy of some genera and families of the Mucorales;
The main task of the Research Group is the systematic study on Mucorales (Zygomycetes, Zygomycota, Fungi) by combining morphological with biochemical and molecular biological characteristics, with the aim of obtaining a clear understanding on the biodiversity of this group of fungi, also of clarifying and revising the controversial problems which have existed in their classification and nomenclature. When necessary, monographic studies on certain families or genera will be carried out in order to provide a more rational and closer-to-natural system for their taxonomy.
Research progresses in 2005 are as follows
o Ambomucor (Mucoraceae) — Supplementary test of pyrG sequence has been carried out. Results obtained are in accord with those of ITS rDNA and favourable to the recognition of the two new species A. seriatoinflatus and A. ovalisporus, but not to the 3 new varieties of the former species established by morphological studies.
o Circinella (Mucoraceae) — After most of the important old taxonomic literatures of this genus have been collected, morphology of the 25 strains of Circinella isolated previously or recently have been studied and the strains were identified as 4 species in contrast to the 9 species already reported from the whole world. Type or authentic cultures from foreign countries are solicited to enable us to make comparisons on both morphology and molecular systematics with the Chinese strains in our future studies.
o Micromucor (?Mucoraceae) — Eight strains of Micromucor were studied and classified as 2 species (3 species and 1 variety have been reported from the whole world). In our future study, one of the important problems to be solved is to find out whether Mucoraceae or Mortierellaceae is the correct family for this genus.
o Zygorhynchus (Mucoraceae) ― One hundred and one strains of Zygorhynchus were isolated from China this year. Comparisons on morphology and molecular systematics with the 6 type or authentic cultures obtained lately from foreign countries were made. Five taxa including 2 new species have been temporarily identified (formerly 7 species were reported from the whole world). Results of ITS rDNA and pyrG sequence tested on 18 representative strains and RAPD analyses processed by 28 random primers from 15 representative strains are in accord with morphological studies.
o Pilaira (Pilobolaceae) ― Comparisons on morphology, molecular systematics, mating compatibility, and maximum growth temperature between the 15 type or authentic cultures obtained lately from abroad and the 6 representative cultures isolated from China were made. Results of ITS rDNA sequence test support the establishment of our new species P. praealtae, they also support the proposition that the two morphologically similar fungi, P. anomala and P. cesatii, are distinct. We are at present trying to use primers designed by ourselves to amplify and test pyrG sequences in order to go further into the question.
o Exploration of the application of molecular systematics to Mucorales classification ―When applied to the systematic studies of the Mucorales, pyrG sequence seems to be more informative than the more commonly used ITS rDNA sequence. For example, pyrG can distinguish Ambomucor and Zygorhynchus, while ITS rDNA cannot. According to the report that nanoparticle PCR can significantly raise the yield and amplification specificity of PCR, we attempted to use nanoparticle PCR in RAPD analyses, regretfully, no effective enhancement is detected.

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