Genome complexity: a new fungal family found (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Wednesday, November 23, 2022, 18:51 (6 days ago) @ David Turell

They all look different but have the same genomic ancestor:

"About 600 seemingly disparate fungi that never quite found a fit along the fungal family tree have been shown to have a common ancestor, according to a University of Alberta-led research team that used genome sequencing to give these peculiar creatures their own classification home.

"'They don't have any particular feature that you can see with the naked eye where you can say they belong to the same group. But when you go to the genome, suddenly this emerges," says Toby Spribille, principal investigator on the project and associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.

"'I like to think of these as the platypus and echidna of the fungal world."


"Using DNA-based dating techniques, the team found that this new class of fungi, called Lichinomycetes, descended from a single origin 300 million years ago, or 240 million years before the extinction of dinosaurs.

"David Díaz-Escandón, who performed the research as part of his Ph.D. thesis, explains that these "oddball" fungi were previously sprinkled across seven different classes—a high-level grouping that in animals would be equivalent to the groups called mammals or reptiles.

"Working with a team of researchers from seven countries to get material from the fungi, he sequenced 30 genomes and found that all classes but one descended from a single origin.

"'They were classified, but they were classified into such different parts of the fungal side of the tree of life that people never suspected they were related to each other," says Díaz-Escandón.

"These fungi include forms as varied as earth tongues—eerie tongue-shaped fungi that shoot up vertically out of the ground—beetle gut microbes, and a fungus found in tree sap in northern Alberta. They also include some unusual lichens that survive in extreme habitats such as South America's Atacama Desert, the driest non-polar desert in the world.

"'What is really fascinating is that despite these fungi looking so different, they have a lot in common at the level of their genomes," says Spribille. "Nobody saw this coming."

"Based on their genomes, which are small compared with those of other fungi, the team predicts that this group of fungi depend on other organisms for life.

"'Their small genomes mean this class of fungi have lost much of their ability to integrate some complex carbohydrates," said Spribille. "When we go back to look at each of these fungi, suddenly we see all of them are in a kind of symbiosis.'"

Comment: this is a major consideration in thinking about evolution. The relationships are at the genome, DNA, level, not at the outward appearance level. It puts to rest dhw's weirdly illogical worry about the Cambrian gap destroying my theory about how God evolved us from Archaea. WE have Archaea genes as previously noted.

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