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Taxonomic groups The major divisions (phyla) of fungi have been classified mainly on the characteristics of their sexual

reproductive structures. Currently, seven phyla are proposed: Chytridiomycota The Chytridiomycota are commonly known as chytrids. These fungi are ubiquitous with a worldwide distribution. Chytrids produce zoospores that are capable of active movement through aqueous phases with a single flagellum, leading early taxonomists to classify them as protists. Molecular phylogenies, inferred from rRNA sequences in ribosomes, suggest that the Chytrids are a basal group divergent from the other fungal divisions, consisting of four major clades with some evidence for paraphyly or possibly polyphyly. Blastocladiomycota The Blastocladiomycota were previously considered a taxonomic clade within the Chytridiomycota. Recent molecular data and ultrastructural characteristics, however, place the Blastocladiomycota as a sister clade to the Zygomycota, Glomeromycota, and Dikarya (Ascomycota and Basidiomycota). The blastocladiomycetes are saprotrophs and parasites of all eukaryotic groups and undergo sporic meiosis unlike their close relatives, the chytrids, which mostly exhibit zygotic meiosis. Neocallimastigomycota The Neocallimastigomycota were earlier placed in the phylum Chytridomycota. Members of this small phylum are anaerobic organisms, living in the digestive system of larger herbivorous mammals and possibly in other terrestrial and aquatic environments. They lack mitochondria but contain hydrogenosomes of mitochondrial origin. As the related chrytrids, neocallimastigomycetes form zoospores that are posteriorly uniflagellate or polyflagellate. Zygomycota The zygomycota contain the taxa, Zygomycetes and Trichomycetes, and reproduce sexually with meiospores called zygospores and asexually with porangiospores. Black bread mold (Rhizopus stolonifer) is a common species that belongs to this group; another is Pilobolus, which is capable of ejecting spores several through the air. Medically relevant genera include Mucor, Rhizomucor, and Rhizopus. Molecular phylogenetic investigation has shown the Zygomycota to be a polyphyletic phylum with evidence of paraphyly within this taxonomic group. Glomeromycota Members of the Glomeromycota are fungi forming arbuscular mycorrhizae with higher plants. Only one species has been observed forming zygospores; all other species solely reproduce asexually. The symbiotic association between the Glomeromycota and plants is ancient, with evidence dating to 400 million years ago.

Many ascomycete species have only been observed undergoing asexual reproduction (called anamorphic species). currently grouped in the Choanozoa. the slime molds (myxomycetes) and water molds (oomycetes) were formerly classified in the kingdom Fungi. It has been suggested that the nucleariids. Oomycetes are diploid bikonts. and mutualistic symbionts. Phylogenetic relationships with other fungus-like organisms Because of similarities in morphology and lifestyle.. Pichia.g. as well as rust and smut fungi. Basidiomycota Members of the Basidiomycota. Most common mushrooms belong to this group. which are enclosed in a special sac-like structure called an ascus. studies of the oomycetes and myxomycetes are still often included in mycology textbooks and primary research literature. but analysis of molecular data has often been able to identify their closest teleomorphs in the Ascomycota. may be a sister group to the eumycete clade.g. and Candida). single-celled yeasts (e. produce meiospores called basidiospores on club-like stalks called basidia. commonly known as sac fungi or ascomycetes. Slime molds are unikonts like fungi. and as such could be included in an expanded fungal kingdom. commonly known as the club fungi or basidiomycetes. but are grouped in the Amoebozoa. which are major pathogens of grains. Fusarium. . therefore. Penicillium. however. several ascomycetes have been used for elucidating principles of genetics and heredity (e. Nonetheless. grouped in the Chromalveolate kingdom. Prominent and important genera of filamentous ascomycetes include Aspergillus. taxonomists no longer group them in the kingdom Fungi. Cryptococcus neoformans. constitute the largest taxonomic group within the Eumycota. and the opportunistic human pathogen. a few mushrooms and truffles. of the genera Saccharomyces. These fungi form meiotic spores called ascospores. parasites. Neurospora crassa). Other important basidiomycetes include the maize pathogen Ustilago maydis. and Claviceps.Ascomycota The Ascomycota.. Unlike true fungi. Neither water molds nor slime molds are closely related to the true fungi. This division includes morels. Kluyveromyces. human commensal species of the genus Malassezia. Because the products of meiosis are retained within the sac-like ascus. and. the cell walls of these organisms contain cellulose and lack chitin. and many filamentous fungi living as saprotrophs.