Intragenomic Variation of Fungal Ribosomal Genes Is Higher than Previously Thought

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Nuclear ribosomal genes in most eukaryotes are present in multiple copies and often used for taxonomic and phylogenetic analyses. We comprehensively examined intragenomic polymorphism levels of three nuclear ribosomal loci for four important plant pathogenic fungi by polymerase chain reaction amplification and cloning. Here, we show that single nucleotide polymorphisms are present in an unexpectedly high amount. This might have implications for studies of fungal evolution, phylogenetics, and population genetics. Furthermore, our work demonstrates that the majority of all ribosomal sequences obtained from one individual and gene is identical to the majority rule consensus sequence of all detected sequence variants. Due to the large number of polymorphisms found and the fact that the polymorphism level differed markedly even between ribosomal genes of one and the same individual, we assume that nuclear ribosomal genes might not always evolve in a strictly concerted manner.

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