Truffles are the fruiting bodies of the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal symbionts residing on host plant roots, they play an important role in soil ecosystem services. In many Ascomycota and Basidiomycota lineages, truffle-forming species have evolved independently in nearly every major group. This suggests that symbiosis drives evolution of truffle diversity and selects for specific traits. An international team including JGI researchers sought insights into the ECM lifestyle of truffle-forming species. As reported in Nature Ecology & Evolution, the team conducted a comparative analysis of eight Pezizomycete fungi, including four species prized as delicacies.
Through the JGI’s Community Science Program, JGI de novo sequenced the genomes of two truffle-forming fungi: the Pig truffle (Choiromyces venosus) and, the Desert truffle (Terfezia boudieri) as well as of two other Pezizomycetes not forming truffles: Ascobolus immersus and Morchella importuna. These four genomes as well as the genome of the Piedmont white truffle (Tuber magnatum) were annotated through the JGI’s pipeline. The genome of the Burgundy Truffle (T. aestivum) was sequenced by Genoscope. Click to learn more on the JGI website.