Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 25802363
Link to DOI – 10.1093/mmy/myv008
Med Mycol 2015 May; 53(4): 313-37
Human and animal fungal pathogens are a growing threat worldwide leading to emerging infections and creating new risks for established ones. There is a growing need for a rapid and accurate identification of pathogens to enable early diagnosis and targeted antifungal therapy. Morphological and biochemical identification methods are time-consuming and require trained experts. Alternatively, molecular methods, such as DNA barcoding, a powerful and easy tool for rapid monophasic identification, offer a practical approach for species identification and less demanding in terms of taxonomical expertise. However, its wide-spread use is still limited by a lack of quality-controlled reference databases and the evolving recognition and definition of new fungal species/complexes. An international consortium of medical mycology laboratories was formed aiming to establish a quality controlled ITS database under the umbrella of the ISHAM working group on “DNA barcoding of human and animal pathogenic fungi.” A new database, containing 2800 ITS sequences representing 421 fungal species, providing the medical community with a freely accessible tool at http://www.isham.org/ and http://its.mycologylab.org/ to rapidly and reliably identify most agents of mycoses, was established. The generated sequences included in the new database were used to evaluate the variation and overall utility of the ITS region for the identification of pathogenic fungi at intra-and interspecies level. The average intraspecies variation ranged from 0 to 2.25%. This highlighted selected pathogenic fungal species, such as the dermatophytes and emerging yeast, for which additional molecular methods/genetic markers are required for their reliable identification from clinical and veterinary specimens.