Systematic and Nomenclature
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Introduction The organisms of the fungal lineage include mushrooms, rusts, smuts, puffballs, truffles, morels, molds, and yeasts, as well as many less well-known organisms (Alexopoulos et al., 1996). More than 70,000 species of fungi have been described; however, some estimates of total numbers suggest that 1.5 million species may exist (Hawksworth, 1991; Hawksworth et al., 1995). As the sister group of animals and part of the eukaryotic crown group that radiated about a billion years ago, the fungi constitute an independent group equal in rank to that of plants and animals.