The order Hymenochaetales of white rot fungi contain some of the most aggressive wood decayers causing tree deaths around the world. Despite their ecological importance and the impact of diseases they cause, little is known about the evolution and transmission patterns of these pathogens. Here, we sequenced and undertook comparative genomic analyses of Hymenochaetales genomes using brown root rot fungus Phellinus noxius, wood-decomposing fungus Phellinus lamaensis, laminated root rot fungus Phellinus sulphurascens and trunk pathogen Porodaedalea pini. Many gene families of lignin-degrading enzymes were identified from these fungi, reflecting their ability as white rot fungi. Comparing against distant fungi highlighted the expansion of 1,3-beta-glucan synthases in P. noxius, which may account for its fast-growing attribute. We identified 13 linkage groups conserved within Agaricomycetes, suggesting the evolution of stable karyotypes. We determined that P. noxius has a bipolar heterothallic mating system, with unusual highly expanded ~60 kb A locus as a result of accumulating gene transposition. We investigated the population genomics of 60 P. noxius isolates across multiple islands of the Asia Pacific region. Whole-genome sequencing showed this multinucleate species contains abundant poly-allelic single nucleotide polymorphisms with atypical allele frequencies. Different patterns of intra-isolate polymorphism reflect mono-/heterokaryotic states which are both prevalent in nature. We have shown two genetically separated lineages with one spanning across many islands despite the geographical barriers. Both populations possess extraordinary genetic diversity and show contrasting evolutionary scenarios. These results provide a framework to further investigate the genetic basis underlying the fitness and virulence of white rot fungi.© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Journal: Molecular ecology