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What are Basidiomycetes?


Basidiomycota and Ascomycota are often referred to as “higher fungi” (Subkingdom Dikarya within the Kingdom Fungi). Like Ascomycota, from which they are believed to have diverged, Basidiomycetes form long filamentous cells (hyphae). Unlike Ascomycota, which form sexual spores in a sac-like structure (Ascus), they reproduce sexually by forming pillar-like cells carrying four meiospores. This anatomy is name-giving (lat. Basidium = pillar). Basic information on classification and life-cycle can be found at the "tree of life" project.

The Basidiomycota further divides into the subphyla Pucciniomycotina, Ustilaginomycotina and Agaricomycotina (Hibbett et al. 2007, Myc. Research 111:509-547).

Taxonomy demonstrated on the example of the Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)
Taxonomy demonstrated on the example of the Oyster mushroom (<i>Pleurotus ostreatus</i>; see picture above).<br><font size="-2">Figure: Institut für Lebensmittelchemie, Leibniz Universität Hannover. Created with P. H. Raven, R. F. Evert, S. E. Eichhorn, Biologie der Pflanzen, 4. Auflage, Walter de Gruyter, Berlin, 2006 and <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/Taxonomy/Browser/wwwtax.cgi?id=5341">NCBI taxonomy browser</a>.</font>

For phylogenetic relationships of the Basidiomycota see also

Ebersberger et al. 2012: Mol. Biol. Evol. 29: 1319-1334.