Introgression and gene family contraction drive the evolution of lifestyle and host shifts of hypocrealean fungi

Hypocrealean fungi (Ascomycota) are known for their diversity of lifestyles. Their vital influences on agricultural and natural ecosystems have resulted in a number of sequenced genomes, which provide essential data for genomic analysis. Totally, 45 hypocrealean fungal genomes constructed a phylogeny. The phylogeny showed that plant pathogens in Nectriaceae diverged earliest, followed by animal pathogens in Cordycipitaceae, Ophiocordycipitaceae and Clavicipitaceae with mycoparasites in Hypocreaceae. Insect/nematode pathogens and grass endophytes in Clavicipitaceae diverged at last. Gene families associated with host-derived nutrients are significantly contracted in diverged lineages compared with the ancestral species. Introgression was detected in certain lineages of hypocrealean fungi, and the main functions of the genes located in the introgressed regions are involved in host recognition, transcriptional regulation, stress response and cell growth regulation. These results indicate that contraction of gene families and introgression might be main mechanisms to drive lifestyle differentiation and evolution and host shift of hypocrealean fungi.