Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: March 20, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: This paper presents an overview of how molecular genetic techniques are transforming our ability to identify and classify microorganisms at all taxonomic levels. Special focus is directed at how the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) combined with automated DNA sequencing are providing systematists with a wealth of discrete characters upon which an objective, phylogenetically-based system of classification of microorganisms can be constructed. Specific examples of how these techniques have advanced our knowledge of the species biology and biogeography of several agronomically important genera of filamentous fungi are drawn from recent studies of the mycotoxigenic and phytopathogenic genus Fusarium including the 'bakanae' pathogen of rice, Gibberella fujikuroi; the koji Aspergillus molds used in fermented food such as soy sauce, miso and sake; the genetic diversity of shiitake mushrooms in Asia; and the edible true morels of the genus Morchella in the northern hemisphere.