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 July 30, 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 July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) 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