Yeasts pose special problems to species recognition. The paucity of morphological characters and the frequent inability to observe sexual reproduction prevents the application of the morphological and biological species concepts to many yeast species. The increasing number of species leads to a redundancy of traditionally used physiological characters to delineate yeast species. Additional difficulties result from hybridisation events in yeasts.
Phylogenetic species recognition by concordance of multiple gene trees will be applied to established species and to species complexes containing a currently undetermined number of undescribed species. Four genetic loci will be sequenced for 30 strains of four Saccharomyces species each and for up to 30 strains per species of undescribed species clusters in the genera Candida, Metschnikowia and Starmerella. Whole genome comparisons will be performed for selected strains by DNA-DNA hybridization as a gold standard for species assignment.
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