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Research article2003Peer reviewed

Parental tracking in the postfire wood decay ascomycete Daldinia loculata using highly variable nuclear gene loci

Guidot A, Johannesson H, Dahlberg A, Stenlid J


The origin of the male and female gametes involved in fertilization events within a local population of the postfire wood decay ascomycete Daldinia loculata was investigated by genotyping the mycelia growing in the wood and the sexual ascospores, using three highly variable nuclear gene loci. The study was conducted in a geographically isolated burned forest site in southern Sweden. An intensive sampling was performed by collecting stromata containing ascospores and wood samples containing mycelia. In total, from 32 mapped burned birches, cultures of 22 haploid genets from decayed wood and six ascospores from each of 19 stromata were isolated and analysed. In 80% of the investigated burned branches, only one genet was found. From the analysis of the ascospore genotypes, we detected 30 fertilization events and 60% of them were the result of mating between conidia (clonal propagules) acting as male gametes and the genets in the branches representing the female gametes. The male parents producing the conidia were detected within the same local population as the female parents in 27% of the fertilization events and originated either from the same branch or from different trees located at 0.5-36 m away from the female parents. In 33% of the fertilization events, conidia originated from three male parents that were not found within the local population sampled. These parents could be anywhere inside or outside the sampled area. For the remaining fertilization events, we could not rule out the ascospores or the conidia as fertilizing propagules. No strong evidence for fertilization by recombinant propagules (ascospores) was detected in this study. The pyrophilous insect species associated with conidia of D. loculata are suggested to be essential vectors for the realization of the sexual cycle of this fungal species. By feeding on the conidia and flying between nearby trees inhabiting wood decay mycelia, these insects allow the transfer of conidia and therefore the opposite mating types to meet within a localized burned forest site

Published in

Molecular Ecology
2003, Volume: 12, number: 7, pages: 1717-1730