September 20, 2013
Genome Of Pyronema Confluens Sequenced By Research Team
Today, the genomes of more than 250 fungi have been sequenced. Among the basal filamentous ascomycetes – a group of ascomycetes that includes e.g. truffles and morels – only one representative has been analyzed so far: the truffle Tuber melanosporum. "With 125 million base pairs, the truffle genome is unusually big, yet it is coding for relatively few genes, namely some 7,500," says Minou Nowrousian from the Department of General and Molecular Botany. "Until now, it was not clear whether this is typical of basal filamentous ascomycetes or whether it is caused by the truffle's 'atypical' lifestyle." Unlike other filamentous ascomycetes, the truffle does not develop reproductive organs – so-called fruiting bodies – above ground but rather below ground. Moreover, it only grows in symbiosis with plant roots (mycorrhiza). Pyronema, on the other hand, is a typical representative of its group.
Intermediary evolutionary stage
One characteristic feature of the fungus under investigation is the fact that it produces fruiting bodies only in light. Fittingly, the researchers discovered genes in the Pyronema genome containing blueprints for photoreceptors for different wavelengths of visible light. The activity of some of those genes increased in light.