Asynchronous origins of ectomycorrhizal clades of Agaricales.Proc Biol Sci. 2012 May 22; 279(1735):2003-11.PB
The ectomycorrhizal (ECM) symbiosis is the most widespread biotrophic nutritional mode in mushroom-forming fungi. ECM fungi include, though are not limited to, about 5000 described species of Agaricales from numerous, independently evolved lineages. Two central hypotheses suggest different explanations for the origin of ECM fungal diversity: (i) dual origins, initially with the Pinaceae in the Jurassic and later with angiosperms during the Late Cretaceous, and (ii) a simultaneous and convergent radiation of ECM lineages in response to cooling climate during the Palaeogene and advancing temperate ECM plant communities. Neither of these hypotheses is supported here. While we demonstrate support for asynchronous origins of ECM Agaricales, the timing of such events appears to have occurred more recently than suggested by the first hypothesis, first during the Cretaceous and later during the Palaeogene. We are also unable to reject models of rate constancy, which suggests that the diversity of ECM Agaricales is not a consequence of convergent rapid radiations following evolutionary transitions from saprotrophic to ECM habits. ECM lineages of Agaricales differ not only in age, but also in rates of diversification and rate of substitution at nuclear ribosomal RNA loci. These results question the biological uniformity of the ECM guild.