Lentinula is a group of white-rot, wood-decaying fungi that is famous as the genus of shiitake mushrooms, Lentinula edodes. Today, shiitake is cultivated worldwide, and it is second only to the button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus, a previous DOE JGI project, in terms of production volume. However, the diversity within cultivars is dwarfed by the genetic variation that exists in wild populations of Lentinula worldwide. This project is the first in-depth genomic survey of a genus of wood-decaying Agaricomycetes, and it will provide insight into the genetic bases of domestication and strain development in an economically important group of white rot saprotrophs. A basic requirement for efficient exploitation of genetic resources is to understand the distribution of naturally occurring diversity. As white rot fungi, Lentinula species produce enzyme systems that have potential applications for industrial bioconversions.
Proposer’s Name: David Hibbett, Clark University