Coprinellus pellucidus v1.0
Fruiting bodies of C. pellucidus produced in culture. Photo by Nora Dunkirk
Fruiting bodies of C. pellucidus produced in culture. Photo by Nora Dunkirk

The genome of Coprinellus pellucidus was sequenced through JGI’s Community Sequencing Project as part of an effort to develop a tractable but ecologically realistic system integrating genomics and carbon cycling. This specimen of Coprinellus pellucidus is a coprophilous (“dung loving”) fungus isolated from the dung of Tule Elk (Cervus canadensis nannodes) collected at Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, CA. Coprinellus pellucidus belongs to a group of fungi known colloquially as “inky caps”, named for their dark spores and auto-digesting fruiting bodies. As a saprotroph, Coprinellus pellucidus obtains its nutrition by decomposing plant tissues that remain in dung after passage through the herbivore gut.

Coprophilous fungi have long been studied by mycologists due to their ease of cultivation and the strong fungal fruiting patterns exhibited throughout the coprophilous decomposition process.  Along with the genome of other coprophilous fungi sequenced through this project, the genome of Coprinellus pellucidus will give insight into the key functional genes dictating patterns of fungal community assembly and decomposition of organic material.  In addition, comparison of the Coprinellus pellucidus genome with other sequenced relatives in the Psathyrellaceae, such as Coprinellus micaceus and Coprinopsis cinerea will provide great insight into the evolution of fungal decomposition genes and the coprophilous lifestyle.