From: DOE / Los Alamos National Laboratory
Published September 29, 2017 05:07 PM

Hunt is over for one of the 'Top 50 Most-Wanted Fungi'

In a step toward bridging the gap between fungal taxonomy and molecular ecology, scientists from several institutions including Los Alamos National Laboratory have characterized a sample of “mystery” fungus collected in North Carolina and found its home in the fungal tree of life.

“Working estimates tell us that there should be more than 5 million species of fungi,” said Cheryl Kuske, a Los Alamos scientist on the project. “We have really only identified and fully described 100,000 of them, though, and new DNA sequencing capabilities show us that many, many specimens in research collections are uncharacterized. Solving this particular mystery shows the potential value of using environmental sequencing to guide taxonomic and ecological discovery.”

The fungal sample was interesting partly as it represented a major component of the observed fungal population in a pine forest and it responded positively to elevated CO2 and nitrogen amendment treatments that mimic future environmental conditions--yet the sample’s exact placement in the taxonomic order was unknown. The sample was eventually given a new name, Bifiguratus adelaidae, as reported recently in the journal Mycologia.

Continue reading at DOE / Los Alamos National Laboratory

Image: Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory and several other institutions have characterized a sample of “mystery” fungus and found its home in the fungal tree of life. The fungus’s exact placement among the taxonomic order was unknown until now. Los Alamos National Laboratory conducts a wide range of biological research efforts as part of its national security science mission, with such research as phylogenetic analysis helping to determine safe pathogens and disease transmission pathways.?

Image Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory

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