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UNITE: a database providing web-based methods for the molecular identification of ectomycorrhizal fungi

Journal article
Authors Urmas Kõljalg
Karl-Henrik Larsson
Kessy Abarenkov
R. Henrik Nilsson
I. J. Alexander
U. Eberhardt
S. Erland
K. Hoiland
R. Kjoller
Ellen Larsson
T. Pennanen
R. Sen
A. F. S. Taylor
L. Tedersoo
T. Vralstad
Björn M. Ursing
Published in New Phytologist
Volume 166
Issue 3
Pages 1063-1068
ISSN 0028-646X
Publication year 2005
Published at Botanical Institute
Pages 1063-1068
Language en
Keywords DNA taxonomy, ectomycorrhiza, fungi, molecular identification, sequence, database, UNITE, PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSIS, DNA BARCODES, DIVERSITY, MICROARRAYS, FORESTS, PROFILE
Subject categories Other Biological Topics


Identification of ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi is often achieved through comparisons of ribosomal DNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) sequences with accessioned sequences deposited in public databases. A major problem encountered is that annotation of the sequences in these databases is not always complete or trustworthy. In order to overcome this deficiency, we report on UNITE, an open-access database. UNITE comprises well annotated fungal ITS sequences from well defined herbarium specimens that include full herbarium reference identification data, collector/source and ecological data. At present UNITE contains 758 ITS sequences from 455 species and 67 genera of ECM fungi. UNITE can be searched by taxon name, via sequence similarity using BLAST n, and via phylogenetic sequence identification using galaxie. Following implementation, galaxie performs a phylogenetic analysis of the query sequence after alignment either to pre-existing generic alignments, or to matches retrieved from a BLAST search on the UNITE data. It should be noted that the current version of UNITE is dedicated to the reliable identification of ECM fungi. The UNITE database is accessible through the URL

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