Sexuality and genetic identity in the Agaricus section Arvenses.Appl Environ Microbiol 2000; 66(2):728-34AE
Twelve wild collections and one commercial strain were used to characterize breeding systems and to develop molecular identities in the Arvenses section of the genus Agaricus, which includes the "horse mushroom" A. arvensis. Two morphotypes were identified based on macro- and micromorphological features. However, not all collections could be delimited by conventional taxonomic characters. Sequencing of the small subunit intergenic spacer (ITS) region (368 to 370 bp) of the rRNA genes clearly resolved the 13 collections into two clusters consistent with the identified morphotypes. Single-spore progenies and mating type testers were established and used to test intra- and interstock compatibility. The two compatibility groups identified were consistent with ITS clusters. Compatibility group I stocks readily interbred within the constraints of a unifactorial heterothallic system with a multiallelic mating type factor. Compatibility group II had a more restricted breeding pattern, and interactions were difficult to predict on the basis of mating type. Morphological data, ITS sequences, and the ability to interbreed suggest that these collections are part of a complex of interrelated species. Single-spore, homokaryotic isolates from both compatibility groups were able to fruit in compost culture, and two of the collections may represent natural homokaryotic fruiting. We conclude that species from the section Arvenses have versatile unifactorial heterothallic life cycles that permit both interbreeding and homokaryotic fruiting.