The genomics behind the success of a wood decay fungus

Published: 2018-01-15


A novel paper led by Inger Skrede (University of Olso, Norway) reveals a number of features that can explain why the dry to fungus Serpula lacrymans is the most successful invasive wood decay fungus in the built environment. The sequencing was performed at the SciLifeLab National Genomics Infrastructure (NGI) in Uppsala. 

Not all species is negatively affected by habitat destruction and human habitation. For animals like the Norwegian rat and the German cockroach, the circumstances is rather on the contrary. A similar pattern is seen with a few wood decay fungi that have expanded their niche into the human built environment.

The research team behind the present investigation analyzed and compared the genomes and characteristics of three strains of wood decay fungi, including the highly successful Serpula lacrymans. They detected numerous genomic signatures that can be linked to S. lacryamans invasiveness, e.g. comprising gene families involved in hyphal growth, transportation and decomposition of wood.

The data also reveals that S. lacryamans harbours poor abilities when it comes to fighting off other brown rot fungi. However, as it has adapted well to sheltered indoor conditions, this dry rot fungus may have limited encounters with other wood decay fungi, compared to its wild relatives.

Read the full paper in The ISME Journal