Introgression, a Major Contributor to Fungal Genetic Variation found by Population Genomics.

Population genomic studies of populations of both Coccidioides species and Neurospora crassa have revealed significant introgression. With Coccidioides, as much as 7% of the genome of C. immis can be traced to its sister species, C. posadasii [Neafsey et al. 2010] and one of the introgressed regions has the hallmarks of a selective sweep indicating that at least one of the genes in the region could be important to adaptation [Whiston et al. 2012]. Population genomics of N. crassa found two, recently diverged populations each with two more recently introgressed regions.

Mate Choice in a Microbe? QTL analysis.

Neurospora crassa individuals acting as females in southern India are faced with local suitors from their own species and from a sister species, N. intermedia. Fungi, in general, mate first and then ask if it was a good idea.

Adaptation by Gene Family Expansion or Contraction? Phylogenomics.

The wealth of sequenced fungal genomes has enabled comparative phylogenomics and these comparisons have found that fungi can adapt to new environments by changing the size of gene families. The ancestral state of fungal nutrition is tied to plants, so we compared the genomes of several “green” fungi, those that eat plants, to the genomes of several “red” fungi, those that eat animals.