Tuberculina species are mitosporic parasites of rust fungi. Phylogenetically they belong to the Urediniomycetidae, therefore being closely related to their rust fungal hosts. We reveal by means of molecular analyses, ultrastructural and morphological features, observations in the field, and infection experiments that species of the genus Tuberculina and the violet root rot (Helicobasidium/Rhizoctonia crocorum) are stages of the life-cycle of one holomorph. This opens up new perspectives on parasitic life strategies as the resulting life-cycle is based on interkingdom host jumping between rusts and spermatophytes. In addition, we point at the consequences for any practical application dealing with Helicobasidium as an economically important plant pathogen and Tuberculina as a biological agent in rust control.
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