Fungi perform essential ecological functions, both beneficial and harmful. The ecology of most of the 1.5- 6 million fungal species is unknown. The current 1000 Fungal Genomes (1KFG) and associated CSPs (e.g., Mycorrhizal Genomics Initiative, Saprotrophic Basidiomycetes) have been mostly successful in sampling genomes of members of the Dikarya. The results have included an increased understanding of phylogenetic relationships of Kingdom Fungi and evolutionary processes associated with the evolution of wood decay. Despite these efforts, the sampling of ecologically relevant fungal species involved in major biogeochemical cycles in terrestrial ecosystems and plant-microbe interactions (e.g., mycorrhizal mutualism and endophytism) remains scarce. The next phase of the 1KFG project focuses on sampling of additional genomic diversity within keystone lineages of ectomycorrhizal and saprophytic fungi that are of special ecological importance in natural and managed terrestrial ecosystems. Endophytic fungi have been neglected compared to the more studied saprotrophic or mycorrhizal fungi. Unravelling the genomic basis responsible for the accommodation of these microbes inside tissues of their hosts represent a promising way to better understand how the endophytic lifestyle evolved in phylogenetically unrelated fungal species.
Proposer’s Name: Francis Martin, INRA (France)