Plant Diversity ›› 2009, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (03): 193-209.DOI: 10.3724 SP.J.1143.2009.09086

• Articles •     Next Articles

Molecular Ecology of Ectomycorrhizal Fungi: Molecular Markers, Genets and Ecological Importance

LI Mo-Chan , XU Jian-Ping   

  1. Department of Biology , McMaster University , Hamilton , Ontario , L8S 4K1 , Canada
  • Received:2009-04-27 Online:2009-06-25 Published:2009-06-25
  • Contact: XU Jian-Ping

Abstract: Ectomycorrhizal ( EcM) fungi form mutualistic symbioses with many tree species and are regarded as key organisms involved in nutrient and carbon cycling in forest ecosystems . Recent technological advances have contributed significantly to our understanding of the population genetics and molecular ecology of EcM . In this review, we first present the commonly used molecular markers for characterizing individual EcM fungi . The properties of different types of molecular markers and their general utilities are discussed . We then summarize the common approaches for identifying unknown EcM fungi and point out the intrinsic difficulties associated with conducting EcM fungal research. One major deficiency is our lack of understanding of the below-ground distribution and dynamics of EcM fungi due to the non-cultivable nature of many EcM fungi . Recent molecular investigations of the EcM fungi have provided a variety of important data with regard to their host specificities, species diversity and abundance, genet size, and their reproductive strategies. We discuss the relevance of these findings to further functional investigations of EcM fungi and to potential implications in the conservation and management of forest ecosystems.

Key words: 核糖体RNA 基因

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