Genetics. 2021 Feb 9;217(2):iyaa004. doi: 10.1093/genetics/iyaa004.
Candida albicans is the most commonly reported species causing candidiasis. The taxonomic classification of C. albicans and related lineages is controversial, with Candida africana (syn. C. albicans var. africana) and Candida stellatoidea (syn. C. albicans var. stellatoidea) being considered different species or C. albicans varieties depending on the authors. Moreover, recent genomic analyses have suggested a shared hybrid origin of C. albicans and C. africana, but the potential parental lineages remain unidentified. Although the genomes of C. albicans and C. africana have been extensively studied, the genome of C. stellatoidea has not been sequenced so far. In order to get a better understanding of the evolution of the C. albicans clade, and to assess whether C. stellatoidea could represent one of the unknown C. albicans parental lineages, we sequenced C. stellatoidea type strain (CBS 1905). This genome was compared to that of C. albicans and of the closely related lineage C. africana. Our results show that, similarly to C. africana, C. stellatoidea descends from the same hybrid ancestor as other C. albicans strains and that it has undergone a parallel massive loss of heterozygosity.