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Cryptic Species: A Leitmotif of Contemporary Mycology Has Challenges and Benefits for Plant Pathologists

F. M. Dugan and S. Everhart

December 2016


Multiple traditional species names for plant pathogenic fungi have been supplemented with new names that delimit formerly cryptic species. In separate instances, isolates within a species are clearly differentiated by both phylogeny and distinctive pathogenic traits and are assigned sub-specific designations. These new species names and the sub-specific designations are both cases of cryptic species that are, in some instances, relevant and/or critical for plant disease management. Here we provide examples of such instances in which newly described taxa differ from the original ("parent") in phenotypic traits of importance to plant disease management: host range, fungicide sensitivity, environmental niche, metabolite production, regulatory status, or other attributes.


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