These fungi are part of the genus Lentinula, which have evolved to decompose hardwoods on every continent besides Europe and Antarctica. Lentinula mushrooms are white rot fungi, belonging to an elite group of decomposers that can break down all of wood’s components — cellulose, hemicellulose, and the toughest molecule, lignin. Understanding Lentinula genomes and their evolution could provide strategies for converting plant waste into sugars for biofuel production.
A JGI team led by Algal Genomics Program lead Igor Grigoriev and data scientist Alan Kuo have unveiled PhycoCosm in the Nucleic Acids Research journal. The genome portal reinforces the JGI’s new strategic focus on exploring algal biology, diversity, and ecology. Read more here on the JGI website.
More than a million species of fungi are estimated to live on this planet, but most of that diversity remains unknown because the fungi have avoided detection and have not been cultured for study in laboratories. A team led by researchers at the Joint Genome Institute has developed a pipeline to generate genomes from single cells of uncultivated fungi. The approach was tested on several uncultivated fungal species representing the earliest evolutionary branches in the fungal genealogy that provide a repertoire of important and valuable gene products.