Mycol Res 2006 Jan 2;110(Pt 1):86-95. Epub 2005 Nov 2.
Department of Microbiology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2, Canada.
The 5S rRNA gene family organization among 87 species and varieties of Pythium was investigated to assess evolutionary stability of the two patterns detected and to determine which pattern is likely the ancestral state in the genus. Species with filamentous sporangia (Groups A-C according to the ITS phylogenetic tree for Pythium) had 5S genes linked to the rDNA repeat that were predominantly coded for on the DNA strand opposite to the one with the other rRNA genes ('inverted' orientation). A small group of species with contiguous sporangia (Group D) is related to Groups A-C but had unlinked 5S genes. The main group of species with spherical zoosporangia (Groups E-J) generally had unlinked 5S genes in tandem arrays. The six species in Group K, although they also have spherical sporangia, had linked genes on the same strand as the other rRNA genes 'non-inverted' and most of them had pairs of tandem 5S genes. The evolutionary stability of 5S sequence organization was compared with the stability of morphological characters as interpreted from a phylogeny based on ITS sequence analysis. Features of 5S sequence organization were found to be just as consistent within groups as were the morphological characters. To determine the ancestral type of 5S family organization, a survey of Phytophthora strains was conducted to supply an outgroup reference. The most parsimonious interpretation of the data in this survey yielded the tentative conclusion that the linked condition of the 5S sequences was ancestral.