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The Evolution Of The Fungus ‘Platypus’ Has Been Solved By Research

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Using genome sequencing to give these strange organisms their own categorization, a research team led by the University of Alberta revealed that about 600 seemingly unrelated fungi that never quite found a fit along the fungal family tree share a common progenitor. The platypus and echidna of the fungus world, according to the author.

No one suspected that our fungi were fake, yet they all have quite distinct appearances. These “oddball” fungi were previously dispersed throughout seven different classes, according to David Diaz-Escandon, who conducted the research for his Ph.D. thesis. This high-level classification corresponds to the groupings known as mammals or reptiles in animals.

He analyzed 30 genomes while working with a group of scientists from seven different nations to collect samples from the fungi and discovered that all classes aside from one were descended from a single origin. They were categorized, but Diaz-Escandon claims that because of how diversely they were grouped under the fungal branch of the tree of life, no one ever believed that they were linked. Despite having such dissimilar appearances, these fungi share a great deal of genetic information, according to Spribille. “Nobody anticipated this.”

Because of their short genomes, this type of fungi has lost a lot of its capacity to incorporate certain complex sugars, according to Spribille. “Suddenly, we realize that all of these fungi are in some sort of symbiosis when we go back to examine each one individually.” The new group might also be a source of fresh data on previous fungal extinctions.

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