DOI: 10.1002/yea.3922 ISSN: 0749-503X

Reinstatement of the fission yeast species Schizosaccharomyces versatilis Wickerham et Duprat, a sibling species of Schizosaccharomyces japonicus

Michael Brysch‐Herzberg, Guo‐Song Jia, Matthias Sipiczki, Martin Seidel, Wen‐Cai Zhang, Li‐Lin Du
  • Genetics
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology


Schizosaccharomyces japonicus Yukawa et Maki (1931) and Schizosaccharomyces versatilis Wickerham et Duprat (1945) have been treated as varieties of S. japonicus or as conspecific, based on various approaches including mating trials and nDNA/nDNA optical reassociation studies. However, the type strains of S. japonicus and S. versatilis differ by five substitutions (99.15% identity) and one 1‐bp indel in the sequences of the D1/D2 domain of the 26S rRNA gene, and 23 substitutions (96.3% identity) and 31‐bp indels in the sequences of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) of rRNA, suggesting that they may not be conspecific. To reassess their taxonomic status, we conducted mating trials and whole‐genome analyses. Mating trials using the type strains showed a strong but incomplete prezygotic sterility barrier, yielding interspecies mating products at two orders of magnitude lower efficiency than intraspecies matings. These mating products, which were exclusively allodiploid hybrids, were unable to undergo the haplontic life cycle of the parents. We generated chromosome‐level gap‐less genome assemblies for both type strains. Whole genome sequences yielded an average nucleotide identity (ANI) of 86.4%, indicating clear separation of S. japonicus and S. versatilis. Based on these findings, we propose the reinstatement of S. versatilis as a distinct species (holotype strain: CBS 103T and ex‐types: NRRL Y‐1026, NBRC 1607, ATCC 9987, PYCC 7100; Mycobank no.: 847838).

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