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Genetic diversity of sterile cultured Trebouxia photobionts associated with the lichen-forming fungus Xanthoria parietina visualized with RAPD-PCR fingerprinting techniques

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 October 2013

Institute of Plant Biology, University of Zürich, Zollikerstrasse 107, CH 8008, Zürich, Switzerland. Email: Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI-48109, USA
Faculty of Life- and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland, Sturlugata 7, IS-101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Rosmarie HONEGGER*
Institute of Plant Biology, University of Zürich, Zollikerstrasse 107, CH 8008, Zürich, Switzerland. Email:


Photobiont diversity within populations of Xanthoria parietina was studied at the species level by means of ITS analyses and at the subspecific level with fingerprinting techniques (RAPD-PCR) applied to sterile cultured algal isolates. Populations from coastal, rural and urban sites from NW, SW and central France and from NE Switzerland were investigated. Between 8 and 63 samples per population, altogether 150 isolates, were subjected to phenetic and ordination analyses. Epiphytic samples of X. parietina associated with different genotypes of Trebouxia decolorans but saxicolous samples contained T. arboricola. For comparison the T. gelatinosa photobiont of a small population of Teloschistes chrysophthalmus (4 samples) was investigated. ITS sequences of T. decolorans isolates from different geographic locations were largely similar. In all populations a surprisingly high diversity of genotypes was observed in Trebouxia isolated from lichen thalli growing side by side. As Trebouxia spp. are assumed to be asexually reproducing haplonts, the genetic background of this diversity is discussed. Fingerprinting techniques are a powerful tool for obtaining valuable insights into the genetic diversity within the algal partner of lichen-forming fungi at the population level, provided that sterile cultured isolates are available.

Copyright © British Lichen Society 2013 

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