Epichloë scottii sp. nov., a new endophyte isolated from Melica uniflora is the missing ancestor of Epichloë disjuncta
Here we describe a new, haploid and stroma forming species within the genus Epichloë, as Epichloë scottii sp. nov. The fungus was isolated from Melica uniflora growing in Bad Harzburg, Germany. Phylogenetic reconstruction using a combined dataset of the tubB and tefA genes strongly support that E. scottii is a distinct species and the so far unknown ancestor species of the hybrid E. disjuncta. A distribution analysis showed a high infection rate in close vicinity of the initial sampling site and only two more spots with low infection rates. Genetic variations in key genes required for alkaloid production suggested that E. scottii sp. nov. might not be capable of producing any of the major alkaloids including ergot alkaloid, loline, indole-diterpene and peramine. All isolates and individuals found in the distribution analysis were identified as mating-type B explaining the lack of mature stromata during this study. We further release a telomere-to-telomere de novo assembly of all seven chromosomes and the mitogenome of E. scottii sp. nov.