The Boletus edulis species complex includes ectomycorrhizal fungi producing edible mushrooms appreciated worldwide. However, species delineation is very difficult in these fungi, because it is based exclusively on a few, highly variable morphological features. As a consequence, a high number of taxa--including several varieties, subspecies and/or species sensu stricto--have been described in this species complex. In this paper we report on an extensive analysis of internal transcribed spacer of the nuclear rDNA region on a large sample of species of the B. edulis complex, mainly harvested in Italy, and representative of the European variability of this group. The molecular analysis allowed us to discriminate among and within B. edulis, B. aestivalis, B. pinophilus and B. aereus spp. and resolve their phylogenetic relationship.
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