Phylogenetics and Phylogenomics of Rust Fungi MC Aime, AR McTaggart, SJ Mondo, S Duplessis. Advances in Genetics
Rust fungi (Pucciniales) are the most speciose and the most complex group of plant pathogens. Historically, rust taxonomy was largely influenced by host and phenotypic characters, which are potentially plastic. Molecular systematic studies suggest that the extant diversity of this group was largely shaped by host jumps and subsequent shifts. However, it has been challenging to reconstruct the evolutionary history for the order, especially at deeper (family-level) nodes. Phylogenomics offer a potentially powerful tool to reconstruct the Pucciniales tree of life, although researchers working at this vanguard still face unprecedented challenges working with nonculturable organisms that possess some of the largest and most repetitive genomes now known in kingdom fungi. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the current status and special challenges of rust genomics, and we highlight how phylogenomics may provide new perspectives and answer long-standing questions regarding the biology of rust fungi.