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  Section: Introduction to Botany » Fungi Imperfecti
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Problems in Classification

Fungi Imperfecti
  Problems in Classification

In fungi exhibiting perfect phases in the reproductive cycle, classification is determined in part by the fruiting bodies produced in the sexual process. Because fruiting bodies are absent in Fungi Imperfecti, it is necessary to use the conidia for purposes of identification. The problems with doing so are legion, however, primarily because conidia are prone to alteration. Slight variations in culture conditions can change the form of conidia, as can nutritional changes and various methods of inoculation. One consequence of using this method is that the same organism has sometimes been classified in different groups and given different names. It is little wonder that workers in this field are led to complain that they are “working in the dark.” The need to rely on pycnidia (flask-shaped structures that produce conidiospores) and conidia for classification defeats the hope of creating a phylogenetic arrangement reflecting genetic kinship.


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