More than any other group of eukaryotic microbes, fungi are essential biological components of the global carbon cycle. Collectively, fungi are capable of degrading almost any naturally occurring biopolymer and numerous human-made ones. The use of fungi for the continued benefit of humankind, however, requires an accurate understanding of how they interact in naturally and synthetically occurring communities. Researchers plan a five-year project that will involve the sequencing of 1000 fungal genomes and result in at least two reference genomes for all families of Fungi. These data will serve as the foundation for an encyclopedic database for fungal metagenomics. Selection of target taxa will be informed by phylogeny, ecology and functional knowledge of fungal diversity with the goal of insuring that taxa from all orders and families of Fungi, as well as major ecologies and morphologies, are sequenced and made publicly available. The data generated by this project will serve as reference data for research related to plant-microbe interactions, microbial emission and capture of greenhouse gases, and metagenomics.
PI: Spatafora, Joseph