Species concepts in cercospora: Spotting the weeds among the roses

J. Z. Groenewald, C. Nakashima, J. Nishikawa, H. D. Shin, J. H. Park, A. N. Jama, M. Groenewald, U. Braun, P. W. Crous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

276 Citations (Scopus)


The genus Cercospora contains numerous important plant pathogenic fungi from a diverse range of hosts. Most species of Cercospora are known only from their morphological characters in vivo. Although the genus contains more than 5 000 names, very few cultures and associated DNA sequence data are available. In this study, 360 Cercospora isolates, obtained from 161 host species, 49 host families and 39 countries, were used to compile a molecular phylogeny. Partial sequences were derived from the internal transcribed spacer regions and intervening 5.8S nrRNA, actin, calmodulin, histone H3 and translation elongation factor 1-alpha genes. The resulting phylogenetic clades were evaluated for application of existing species names and five novel species are introduced. Eleven species are epi-, lecto- or neotypified in this study. Although existing species names were available for several clades, it was not always possible to apply North American or European names to African or Asian strains and vice versa. Some species were found to be limited to a specific host genus, whereas others were isolated from a wide host range. No single locus was found to be the ideal DNA barcode gene for the genus, and species identification needs to be based on a combination of gene loci and morphological characters. Additional primers were developed to supplement those previously published for amplification of the loci used in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-170
Number of pages56
JournalStudies in Mycology
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Jun


  • Cercospora apii complex
  • Co-evolution, host jumping
  • Host specificity
  • Speciation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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