How many fungi colonize a single grass root system?
Vandenkoornhuyse extracted total DNA from cleaned roots of the grass Arrhenatherum elatius and PCR amplified nuclear small subunit rDNA, which they cloned individually and sequenced
Phylogenetic analyses of cloned rDNAs against a dataset of diverse Fungi suggested that 49 different fungal species were present
Fungal sequences represented not only Glomales (Zygomycota; expected, because these fungi are involved in arbuscular mycorrhizal [AM] symbioses), but also Chytridiomycota, Ascomycota, and Basidiomycota, including groups that have not previously thought to include endophytes.
Several sequences appear to represent major lineages that have not been discovered previously, including some of the most basal lineages in basidiomycota and ascomycota
Potential source of error: chimeric PCR products
Vandenkoornhuyse, P., S. L. Baldauf, C. Leyval, J. Straczek, and J. P. W. Young. 2002. Extensive fungal diversity in plant roots. Science 295: 2051.