The application of DNA taxonomy to identify fungal endophytes

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University of New Brunswick
Fungal identification has been a long-standing challenge in mycology. DNA barcoding and DNA taxonomy have been found to mitigate challenges associated with fungal identification, in this project these techniques were compared. The Natural Products Research Group (NPRG) has a collection of over 400 endophytes, 242 of which had been identified using DNA barcoding, resulting in ambiguous or missing identifications for approximately 25% of the isolates. In this study, DNA taxonomy was used to resolve and verify identifications in the NPRG's collection. To determine if DNA taxonomy is useful in identifying new DNA sequences, a test set of endophytes was isolated and a phylogenetic tree of 441 sequences was built. Analysis of this tree resulted in 55 sequences from the NPRG collection being identified (45) or re-identified (10), improving the collection's identifications. Finally, 47 of the new sequences (76%) were identified to the species (4), genus (42), or order (1) level.