Sources of Fungal Genetic Variation and Associating It with Phenotypic Diversity


John W. Taylor, Sara Branco, Cheng Gao, Chris Hann-Soden, Liliam Montoya, Iman Sylain, Pierre Gladieux


Microbiology Spectrum


The first eukaryotic genome to be sequenced was fungal, and there continue to be more sequenced genomes in the kingdom Fungi than in any other eukaryotic kingdom. Comparison of these genomes reveals many sources of genetic variation, from single nucleotide polymorphisms to horizontal gene transfer and on to changes in the arrangement and number of chromosomes, not to mention endofungal bacteria and viruses. Population genomics shows that all sources generate variation all the time and implicate natural selection as the force maintaining genome stability. Variation in wild populations is a rich resource for associating genetic variation with phenotypic variation, whether through quantitative trait locus mapping, genome-wide association studies, or reverse ecology. Subjects of studies associating genetic and phenotypic variation include model fungi, e.g., Saccharomyces and Neurospora, but pioneering studies have also been made with fungi pathogenic to plants, e.g., Pyricularia (= Magnaporthe), Zymoseptoria, and Fusarium, and to humans, e.g., Coccidioides, Cryptococcus, and Candida.



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