Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Secret Sex Life Of Killer Fungus

Date:
July 14, 2005
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
A fungus that causes life-threatening infections in humans may be having sex, say scientists. Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungus that has also been linked to asthma, had always been thought to reproduce asexually. But a study by researchers at Nottingham and Manchester universities has revealed that the fungus has a series of genes required for sexual reproduction.

A fungus that causes life-threatening infections in humans may be having sex, say scientists.

Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungus that has also been linked to asthma, had always been thought to reproduce asexually.

But a study by researchers at Nottingham and Manchester universities has revealed that the fungus has a series of genes required for sexual reproduction.

The discovery, published in the science journal Current Biology, has important implications for the way diseases caused by the fungus - estimated to affect some 5,000 people in the UK each year - are treated.

"The possible presence of sex in the species is highly significant as it affects the way we try and control disease," said Dr David Denning, of The University of Manchester.

"If the fungus does reproduce sexually as part of its life cycle, then it might evolve more rapidly to become resistant to antifungal drugs - sex might create new strains with increased ability to cause disease and infect humans."

The research team, headed by Dr Paul Dyer at the University of Nottingham, used a number of techniques to study the fungus's genetic make-up or genome.

The analysis of 290 specimens worldwide revealed that the fungus was composed of nearly equal proportions of two different sexes or 'mating types', which in theory could have sex with each other.

Further investigations, in Europe and America, showed that genes had been, or were being, exchanged between individuals of the fungus and that some key genes involved with detecting a partner were active in the fungus.

"Taken as a whole, the results indicate that the fungus has a recent evolutionary history of sexual activity and might still be having sex so far 'unseen' by human eyes," said Dr Dyer.

"The sexual cycle could be a useful genetic tool for scientists to study the way in which the fungus causes disease."

Further work is now aimed at seeing if the fungus can truly reproduce by sexual means.

Dr Dyer added: "The fungus is very common in compost heaps so these might be a hotbed of fungal sex!"

###

The team working on the research was headed by Paul Dyer (University of Nottingham) with lead researchers David Denning (The University of Manchester), Mathieu Paoletti (University of Nottingham) and Carla Rydholm (Duke University, USA)

The work was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (UK), the Fungal Research Trust (UK) and Duke University (USA).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "Secret Sex Life Of Killer Fungus." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050714004502.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2005, July 14). Secret Sex Life Of Killer Fungus. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050714004502.htm
University of Manchester. "Secret Sex Life Of Killer Fungus." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050714004502.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins