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2-timing and hybrids: RUB researchers look back on 100 million years of evolution
Date:1/17/2012

nged dramatically. That should really mean that different species can no longer mate with each other".

Mixing with other species

Nevertheless, in the experiment the team proved that grass smut fungi of different species can mate. Now they want to investigate whether this phenomenon also occurs in nature. "This is a fascinating discovery", says Kellner. "The hybrid formation would have far-reaching ecological consequences." A new species of fungus could, for example, be more harmful than its two predecessor species because it infests several different host plants. Leaps to new hosts would also be conceivable. "It's like in the current debate surrounding the bird flu virus, which could combine with another strain of the virus" explained Begerow. "Here, new 'super parasites' could emerge whose properties are completely unpredictable. If different species of fungi did actually mate, that would speed up evolution enormously."


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Contact: Dr. Dominik Begerow
dominik.begerow@rub.de
49-234-322-7212
Ruhr-University Bochum
Source:Eurekalert

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