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Data from: Correlated evolution of senescence and ephemeral substrate use in the Sordariomycetes


Geydan, Thomas D.; Debets, Alfons J. M.; Verkleij, Gerard J. M.; van Diepeningen, Anne D. (2012), Data from: Correlated evolution of senescence and ephemeral substrate use in the Sordariomycetes, Dryad, Dataset,


Evolutionary theory predicts that senescence – a decline in reproduction and survival with increasing age - can evolve as a trade-off between the investment in reproduction on one side and in somatic maintenance and repair on the other side. The ecology of a species is crucial here, since it provides the external causes of death that determine the statistical limit to a species’ lifespan. Filamentous fungi are generally believed to be non-senescent, and there are indeed spectacular examples of very old fungal individuals in nature. Yet, for some fungi the growth conditions are ephemeral and therefore senescence is expected to have evolved, like in the coprophilic Podospora anserina, the only well-studied filamentous fungus with intrinsic senescence. Here we hypothesize that rapid senescence is more common in fungi than generally believed and that the phylogenetic distribution of senescence correlates with its ecology. We examined a set of Sordariomycetes for their lifespan and constructed phylogenies based on several nuclear sequences. Part of the strains were from the CBS culture collection, originally isolated from various substrates, some of which ephemeral. In addition we isolated new strains from short-lived substrates. Senescence was observed throughout the phylogeny. Correlation tests support the hypothesis that in the Sordariomycetes senescence is a trait that has arisen as an evolved adaptation to ephemeral substrates, and that it has evolved repeatedly and independently along the phylogeny.

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