Former student Dr. Rabern Simmons, along with his mentor, SBE’s Dr. Joyce Longcore, among the authors of a paper featured on the issue cover of the journal PNAS

It has been assumed that fungi are characterized by a haploid-dominant life cycle with a general absence of mitosis in the diploid stage (haplontic life cycles). However, this characterization is based largely on information for Dikarya, a group of fungi that contains mushrooms, lichens, molds, yeasts, and most described fungi. We now appreciate that most early-diverging lineages of fungi are not Dikarya and share traits with protists, such as flagellated life stages. Here, we generated an improved phylogeny of the fungi by generating genome sequences of 69 zoosporic fungi. We show, using the estimated heterozygosity of these genomes, that many fungal lineages have diploid-dominant life cycles (diplontic). This finding forces us to rethink the early evolution of the fungal cell.

Read the full paper at