The genus Suillus is one the more iconic and easily recognized genera of mushrooms. As symbiotic ectomycorrhizal fungi (EMF), Suillus spp. play critical roles in the function of forest ecosystems by providing their plant hosts with mineral resources in exchange for photosynthetically fixed carbon. Our project seeks to generate a comprehensive understanding of the co-evolutionary history between Suillus and the Pinaceae. This will be accomplished by using genomes to reconstruct the evolutionary history of the entire genus for the first time. Collectively, our project will provide the first global-scale phylogenomic reconstruction of a keystone genus of EMF, which will transform our understanding of ectomycorrhizal fungal-host co-evolution. The project will also provide a wealth of genomic information regarding the functional capabilities of plant-associated mutualistic fungi, directly contributing to the DOE mission of understanding carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystems as well as heavy metal tolerance.
Proposer: Nhu Nguyen, University of Hawaii at Manoa