It is to be noted that all the forms exhibit the fusion of nuclei in the ascus, so that those with the normal or reduced sexual process described above have two nuclear fusions in their lifehistory.
The matter is complicated by the apogamous transition from gametophyte to sporophyte in the absence of the ascogonium; also by the fact that there are normally two fusions in the life-history as mentioned earlier.
If there are two fusions one would expect two reductions, and Harper has suggested that the division of the nuclei into eight in the ascus, instead of into four spores as in most reduction processes, is associated with a double reduction process in the ascus.
As with other plants, so in fungi the essential process of fertilization consists in the fusion of two nuclei, but owing to the absence of well-marked sexual organs from many fungi, a peculiar interest attaches to certain nuclear fusions in the vegetative cells or in young spores of many forms. Thus in Ustilagineae the chlamydospores, and in Uredineae the teleutospores, each contain two nuclei when young, which fuse as the spores mature.
The significance of these fusions will be discussed under the various groups.