John Taylor - Principal Investigator
(510) 642-5366
Lab Phone: 
(510) 642-8441

Ph.D.  Mycology    University of California, Davis, 1978
B.A.   Ecology    University of California, Berkeley, 1972


Evolution of fungi.
Pattern and Process of Fungal Evolution.

We study the pattern and process of fungal evolution. We started by studying the pattern of evolution in terms of species and populations and now have begun to study the process. Our long term goal is to make fungi the best models for evolutionary biology. We focus on the key evolutionary event that forms the tree of life: speciation. Recently we have documented species divergences, compared phylogenetic and biological methods of species recognition, addressed the timing of species divergence, and evaluated selection acting on potentially adaptive genes. Now, we are using genetics and genomics to find genes that maintain species and facilitate adaptation.

Figure 1. [right] Bayesian phylogeny made from exon sequence from Neurospora crassa isolates showing two, genetically differentiated populations in what had been thought to be one population. Comparison of the genomes of the Louisiana and Caribbean (dotted line) populations revealed the "islands of differentiation" seen in Figure 2. (Ellison et al. 2011. PNAS 107:2831-2836).

Figure 2. [above] Island of differentiation. (A. chromosome 3, B chromosome 7) uncovered by genome scans of Neurospora crassa individuals from the Louisiana (LA) and Caribbean (Carib) populations. Genes in these islands are candidates for those important to adaptation. The mean annual low temperature in Louisiana is 10 degrees C lower in than the Caribbean and,using growth as a measure of fitness, Louisiana individuals were more fit than Caribbean individuals at low temperature.  A Louisiana strain with a gene deletion for PAC 10 (prefoldin) or for MRH4 (RNA helicase) also showed lower fitness than wild type at low temperature, leaving intact our hypothesis that genes in the islands are important for adaptation to growth at low temperature. (Ellison et al. 2011. PNAS 107:2831-2836).


Recent Publications

  • Book reviews:
    • Taylor, J.W. 1981. Review of Introduction to Modern Mycology by J.W. Deacon. Mycologia 73: 1212-1213.
    • Fuller, M.S. and Taylor, J.W. 1979. Review of Mitosis in the Fungi (I.B. Heath, ed.). Quarterly Review of Biology 54: 80- 81.

  • Memorials:
    • Taylor, J.W. and M.E. Silliker. 1993. O'Neil Ray Collins, 1931-1989. Mycologia 85: 868-872.


    Honors and Awards

    • 2010 Elected President, International Mycological Association
    • 2010 Member, Editorial Board of IMAFungus
    • 2009 Member, Editorial board of mBIO
    • 2008 Distinguished Mycologist, Mycological Society of America
    • 2005 Elected Fellow, Mycological Society America
    • 2005 Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Natural Resources, UC, Berkeley
    • 2004 Rhoda Benham Medal, Medical Mycological Society of the Americas.
    • 2003 Lucille K. Georg Medal, International Society for Human and Animal Mycology
    • 2002 President, Mycological Society of America
    • 2000 Elected Fellow of the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science
    • 1999 Miller Research Professor, U.C. Berkeley
    • 1998 Elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology
    • 1998 Member of the Executive Committee, International Mycological Association
    • 1996 - Associate editor of Fungal Genetics and Biology (USA)
    • 1993 -98 Member of the editorial board and Assoc. Editor of Mycologia (USA)
    • 1994 William H. Weston Award for Teaching, Mycological Soc. of America
    • 1994 -97 Associate editor of Mycological Research (U.K.)
    • 1993 Elected to the California Academy of Sciences
    • 1993 - Trustee of the Jepson Herbarium
    • 1993 Organizing Committee, Int’l Workshop on Ascomycete Systematics, Paris
    • 1993 - Member, American Society for Microbiology
    • 1991 -94 Mycological Society of America, representative to AAAS
    • 1990 -94 Member, Program Committee, 5th International Mycological Congress, 1994
    • 1990 Chairman, Annual Meeting Program Committee, Mycol. Soc. of America
    • 1989 -93 Member of the editorial board of Mycologia
    • 1988 AAAS Representative to the Australian and New Zealand AAS Centenary
    • 1988 - Member, British Mycological Society
    • 1987 -88  Visiting Scientist, CSIRO Laboratory of Food Research, North Ryde, Australia
    • 1986 Alexopoulos Prize for Resarch, Mycological Society of America
    • 1985 -88 Councilor, Mycological Society of America
    • 1985 - Member, Society for the Study of Evolution
    • 1983 - Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science
    • 1976 Graduate Fellowship, Mycological Society of America
    • 1974 - Member, Mycological Society of America, Life Member 1999