Sexual reproduction in ascomycete fungi is governed by the mating-type (MAT) locus. The MAT loci of Diaporthe and its Phomopsis anamorphs differ in only one gene: MAT1-1-1 in mating-type MAT1-1 and MAT1-2-1 in mating-type MAT1-2. In order to diagnose mating-types in Diaporthe and Phomopsis and evaluate their usefulness in teleomorph induction in vitro and biological species delimitation, we designed primers that amplify part of the MAT1-1-1 and MAT1-2-1 genes. MAT phylogenies were generated and compared with ITS and EF1-alpha phylograms. Species recognised in the EF1-alpha phylogeny corresponded directly with those determined in the MAT phylogenies. ITS was shown to be highly variable resulting in a large number of phylogenetic species that were discordant with MAT and EF1-alpha species. Mating experiments were conducted to evaluate the existence of reproductive barriers between some isolates, and their anamorphic morphologies were compared. The primers proved to be useful in the mating-type diagnosis of isolates, selection of compatible mating pairs, and in the assessment of biological species boundaries. (C) 2010 The British Mycological Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.