The mutualistic relationship between tree roots and ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungi has been shaping forest ecosystems since their inception. ECM fungi are key players supporting the growth, health and stress tolerance of forest trees globally, and help boost the productivity of bioenergy feedstock trees. To learn more about what characteristics are dominant in the most common ECM fungus Cenococcum geophilum, a team including researchers at the DOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI) compared its genome with the genomes of two close relatives, neither of which are ECM fungi. They found specific adaptations in the Cenococcum genome that could help their hosts be more resistant to drought stress, a finding that could be useful in developing more plant feedstocks for bioenergy amidst the changing climate. The study was published date September 2 in Nature Communications. Read more at JGI News.