The Lichenologist

Research Article

Pcr Primers for the Amplification of Mitochondrial Small Subunit Ribosomal DNA of Lichen-forming Ascomycetes

Stefan Zollera1, Christoph Scheideggera1 and Christoph Sperisena1

a1 Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research, Zürcherstrasse 111, CH–8903 Birmensdorf, Switzerland, e-mail:


Four primers for the amplification of mitochondrial DNA of lichenforming ascomycetes are presented. The primers match the conserved regions U2, U4, and U6, respectively, of mitochondrial small subunit (SSU) ribosomal DNA (rDNA). Polymerase chain reaction using different combinations of the primers produced single amplification products from DNA of eight lichen-forming fungal species but did not amplify DNA of two axenic cultured algal species. The amplification product obtained from Lobaria pulmonaria was sequenced and the 894-bp sequence was compared with the mitochondrial SSU rDNA sequence of Podospora anserine. The two sequences revealed more than 76% identity in the conserved regions U3 to U5 demonstrating that we amplified mitochondrial DNA. The primers matching U2 and U6 yielded amplification products of 800–1000 bp depending on the species examined. The variation observed suggests that mitochondrial SSU rDNA may be useful for phylogenetic analyses of lichen-forming ascomycetes.

(Accepted July 18 1999)