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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Genomic Evolution of the Ascomycete Yeasts:

  • Author(s): Riley, Robert
  • Haridas, Sajeet
  • Salamov, Asaf
  • Boundy-Mills, Kyria
  • Goker, Markus
  • Hittinger, Chris
  • Klenk, Hans-Peter
  • Lopes, Mariana
  • Meir-Kolthoff, Jan P.
  • Rokas, Antonis
  • Rosa, Carlos
  • Scheuner, Carmen
  • Soares, Marco
  • Stielow, Benjamin
  • Wisecaver, Jennifer H.
  • Wolfe, Ken
  • Blackwell, Meredith
  • Kurtzman, Cletus
  • Grigoriev, Igor
  • Jeffries, Thomas
  • et al.

Yeasts are important for industrial and biotechnological processes and show remarkable metabolic and phylogenetic diversity despite morphological similarities. We have sequenced the genomes of 16 ascomycete yeasts of taxonomic and industrial importance including members of Saccharomycotina and Taphrinomycotina. Phylogenetic analysis of these and previously published yeast genomes helped resolve the placement of species including Saitoella complicata, Babjeviella inositovora, Hyphopichia burtonii, and Metschnikowia bicuspidata. Moreover, we find that alternative nuclear codon usage, where CUG encodes serine instead of leucine, are monophyletic within the Saccharomycotina. Most of the yeasts have compact genomes with a large fraction of single exon genes, and a tendency towards more introns in early-diverging species. Analysis of enzyme phylogeny gives insights into the evolution of metabolic capabilities such as methanol utilization and assimilation of alternative carbon sources.

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