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International team to sequence genomes of fungi
Date:11/9/2011

RIVERSIDE, Calif. With an estimated 1.5 million species, fungi represent one of the largest branches of the Tree of Life. They have an enormous impact on human affairs and ecosystem functioning due to their diverse activities as decomposers and pathogens, and their partnership with host organisms for mutual benefit. To use fungi for the benefit of humankind, an accurate understanding of what exactly they do, how they function, and how they interact in natural and synthetic environments is required.

Jason Stajich, an assistant professor of plant pathology and microbiology at the University of California, Riverside, is a member of an international research team that, in collaboration with the Joint Genome Institute of the U.S. Department of Energy, has embarked on a five-year project to sequence 1000 fungal genomes from across the Fungal Tree of Life.

Called the "1000 Fungal Genomes" project, the research endeavor aims to bridge the gap in our understanding of fungal diversity and is one of 41 projects funded through the U.S. Department of Energy's 2012 Community Sequencing Program.

"The overall plan is to fill in gaps in the Fungal Tree of Life by sequencing at least two species from every known fungal family," said Stajich, a member of UCR's Institute for Integrative Genome Biology. "Once the data is compiled, the project scientists will make use of the data as a starting point for interpreting how these organisms change and use their environment to make a living."

Stajich is co-leading the Funga
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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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