The main difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota is that the Ascomycota includes sac fungi that produce spores inside a sac called the ascus whereas Basidiomycota includes club fungi the produce spores at the end of specialized cells called basidia. Furthermore, asexual reproduction is prominent in Ascomycota while sexual reproduction is prominent in Basidiomycota.
Ascomycota and Basidiomycota are two divisions of fungi. They collectively form the subkingdom Dikarya. Moreover, they are the divisions of fungi that produce visible fruiting bodies.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Ascomycota
– Definition, Features, Reproduction
2. What is Basidiomycota
– Definition, Features, Reproduction
3. What are the Similarities Between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota
– Comparison of Key Differences
Ascomycota, Ascospores, Asexual Reproduction, Basidiomycota, Basidiospores, Dikarya, Fruit Bodies, Gill Fungi, Karyogamy, Lichen
What is Ascomycota
Ascomycota is a division of fungi characterized by the formation of asci and ascospores endogenously. It is one of the largest and morphologically diverse groups of fungi. There are around 60,000 well-known species of Ascomycota. The group ranges from the unicellular yeast to the multicellular cup fungi. Half of the members of the division involve in the formation of lichens. Others form mycorrhizal relationships with plants. Very few of them are animal and plant pathogens.
Furthermore, the main characteristic feature of Ascomycota is the formation of four to eight sexual spores inside a microscopic sac called ascus. Hence, they are known as sac fungi. Ascocarps bear these asci. However, the main form of reproduction of Ascomycota is the asexual reproduction, which occurs through the formation of numerous asexual spores called conidia. Generally, conidia are formed at the tips of fungal hyphae.
Prior to undergoing sexual reproduction, compatible haploid mating-type hyphae (+ and -) fuse to form a dikaryotic hypha, which eventually gives rise to the ascocarps and ascospores. Here, the intertwining of the two mating type hyphae forms an ascogonium and an antheridium. Ascogonium is the female part and it accepts the nuclei from the antheridium following the plasmogamy. Then, this structure forms the cup-shaped ascocarp. After the formation of asci, karyogamy occurs, forming a highly transient diploid nucleus. The meiosis of this nuclei results in four haploid nuclei, which may undergo an additional round of mitosis to form 8 nuclei or ascospores. Finally, the germination of the ascospores forms the haploid mycelia.
What is Basidiomycota
Basidiomycota is a division of fungi characterized by the formation of basidia and basidiospores exogenously. Moreover, due to the presence of sexual spore-bearing cells called basidia, the fungi under Basidiomycota division are called club fungi. Here, millions of spores occur on the club-shaped basidia located on the surface of gills. Therefore, another name of Basidiomycota is gill fungi. Around 25,000 species of Basidiomycota have been identified so far. These fungi can be either decomposers, mycorrhizal or plant pathogens. Additionally, Basidiomycota is capable of breaking down large polymers in the plant cell wall such as lignin.
Moreover, sexual reproduction is the most prominent form of reproduction in Basidiomycota. It starts with the fusion of two, haploid, mating-type hyphae (+ and -) to form a dikaryotic hypha. These dikaryotic hyphae are capable of producing a fruit body or a gilled mushroom under favorable environmental conditions. Then, basidia forms on the surface of the gills. After that, the karyogamy produces the diploid nucleus in each basidium followed by the immediate meiosis to form four haploid nuclei. Each nucleus migrates into the appendages and develops into basidiospores, which migrates via wind and germinate to produce haploid hyphae.
Similarities Between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota
- Ascomycota and Basidiomycota are two divisions of fungi that produce visible fruit bodies.
- Both collectively form the subkingdom Dikarya.
- Also, their formation of spores occurs by karyogamy followed by meiosis.
- Moreover, their somatic structure represents a well-developed septate mycelium.
- Furthermore, both their life cycle comprises three stages: haplophase, dikaryophase, and diplophase.
- Besides, asexual reproduction of both types of fungi occurs either through the formation of conidiospores and budding.
Difference Between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota
Ascomycota refers to a division of fungi characterized by the presence of asci and ascospores while Basidiomycota refers to a division of fungi that have septate hyphae and spores borne on a basidium. Thus, this is the main difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota.
Also Known as
Ascomycota is also known as sac fungi while Basidiomycota is also known as club fungi.
Main Form of Reproduction
Another major difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota is their form of reproduction. Ascomycota mainly undergoes asexual reproduction while Basidiomycota mainly undergoes sexual reproduction.
Degeneration of Sexuality
Moreover, Ascomycota shows partial degeneration of visible sexuality while Basidiomycota shows complete degeneration of visible sexuality. Hence, this is also a difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota.
Production of Gametangia
One other difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota is that the Ascomycota produces gametangia while Basidiomycota does not produce gametangia.
Establishment of Dikaryophase
Furthermore, the dikaryophase in Ascomycota is established either by the development of gametangia, by spermatization or by somatogamy while the dikaryophase is established either by spermatization or by somatogamy.
Importantly, dikaryophase of Ascomycota is dependent on the haplophase for nutrition while the dikaryophase of Basidiomycota is independent.
Besides, the dikaryophase of Ascomycota is small and short-lived while the dikaryophase of Basidiomycota is large and long-lived. Thus, this is another difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota.
Dikaryotic Mycelia Structure
Also, one more difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota is that the Ascomycota forms croziers in the dikaruotic mycelia while Basidiomycota forms clump connections.
Dikaryophase Gives Rise to
The dikaryophase is responsible for the generation of asci and ascospores in Ascomycota while the dikaryophase of Basidiomycota is responsible for the generation of secondary and tertiary mycelia, giving rise to basidia and basidiospores and the sterile tissue of the fruit body respectively.
Sexual reproduction of Ascomycota occurs through the formation of ascospores while the sexual reproduction of Basidiomycota occurs through the formation of basidiospores. So, this is also an important difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota.
Sexual spores is an additional a difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota. Ascospores are endogenous and are formed inside the ascus while basidiospores are exogenous and are formed inside basidia.
Number of Sexual Spores
While Ascomycota produces 4-spored or 8-spored ascus, Basidiomycota produces 1-spored to 8-spored basidia.
Ascomycota is a division of fungi characterized by the formation of endogenous ascospores inside the ascus. However, the sexual reproduction of Ascomycota is rare and the most prominent form of reproduction is sexual reproduction. On the other hand, Basidiomycota is another division of fungi characterized by the formation of exogenous basidiospores at the end of the basidium. Furthermore, sexual reproduction is the most prominent. Thus, this sums up the main difference between Ascomycota and Basidiomycota.
1. Woodward, Denise. “Fungi II – Phyla Ascomycota and Basidiomycota.” Biology 110 – Basic Concepts and Biodiversity, Confluence, 10 Sept. 2014, Available Here.
1. “04 03 07 life cycle, Pezizales, Ascomycota (M. Piepenbring)” By M. Piepenbring – M. Piepenbring (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “03 01 07 life cycle Basidiomycota basidium (M. Piepenbring)” By M. Piepenbring – M. Piepenbring (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia