Cryptic species in the Terfezia boudieri complex Academic Article uri icon


  • Phylogenetic analyses have corroborated the discovery of three internal transcribed spacer (ITS) Types in Terfezia boudieri isolates in the course of earlier studies and have emphasized the divergence of Type 2 from Types 1 and 3. The application of molecular and physiological tools described below, revealed the existence of cryptic species within T. boudieri. The markers used include sequences taken from the 5′ end of the ribosomal large subunit gene, a chitin synthase partial sequence, β-tubulin partial sequence and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP)-based markers. Following initial sequencing of a single PCR amplified sample for each Type, mass analysis of specimens relied on RFLP differences between the Types. Over 100 fruit bodies, 30 or more specimens for each ITS Type, were tested with each of the markers. The markers analysis divided the isolates into three groups, each correlated to a specific ITS Type. Two of the physiological traits examined: mycelial proliferation and mycorrhiza formation, consistently showed responses paralleling the ITS Types; the data presented suggest that T. boudieri is comprised of three cryptic species.

publication date

  • March 12, 2009