Genetic diversity within lichen photobionts of the Lecanora varia group (Lichenes, Ascomycota)

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  • S. Pérez-Ortega
  • Ulrik Søchting
  • C. Printzen
Lichens are symbiotic organisms, where a fungus–generally a member of the Ascomycota –
and a photobiont – generally a green algae – interact closely in a widespread life form
Recently, numerous studies have focused on the genetic diversity and phylogenetic
relationships of the fungal partner of the symbiosis. Meanwhile, knowledge about photobiont
diversity and the degree of photobiont selectivity of the fungus have been lacking behind. The
Lecanora varia group is a set of species within the genus Lecanora defined by the presence of
an amphitecial cortex along with the presence of usnic acid as secondary metabolite. We have
focused on a small group of three species, namely L. varia, L. burgaziae, and L. densa which
share very similar anatomical and morphological characters and an identical chemistry, with
psoromic and 2-O-demethylpsoromic acids in addition to usnic acid. We have collected
populations of these three species from various localities within their distributional range: L
varia (Spain, Austria, Sweden, Czech Republic, western Siberia); L. burgaziae (Spain) and L.
densa (North America and Spain). Subsequently, we sequenced the internal transcribed spacer
(ITS) region of the nuclear ribosomal DNA to assess the degree of genetic variability within
the phobobionts present.
A high degree of variability was found among the photobionts of sampled specimens. Not
only different lineages but also different photobiont species were detected. No correlation
between lichen species and photobiont lineages was found. However, there is a high
correlation between the geographical origin of samples and the photobiont lineages.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2007
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventGenetic diversity within lichen photobionts of the Lecanora varia group (Lichenes, Ascomycota) - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 20 Feb 200723 Feb 2007


ConferenceGenetic diversity within lichen photobionts of the Lecanora varia group (Lichenes, Ascomycota)

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