Galerina marginata v1.0
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Galerina marginata. Photo courtesy Michael G. Wood, www.mykoweb.com

Galerina marginata is a white-rot fungus in the Cortinariaceae (Agaricales). It is phylogenetically distinct from sequenced white rot fungi such as Pleurotus ostreatus (Pleurotaceae, Agaricales) and Phanerochaete chrysosporium (Phanerochaetaceae, Corticiales), and is believed to represent an independent derivation of the white-rot life style. White-rot fungi are the only eukaryotic organisms capable of degrading lignin, the phenolic polymer that contributes to the strength and structure of plant cell walls. By examining a taxonomic diversity of white rot fungi, we can hope to identify core enzymes necessary for lignin degradation, as well as sampling the diversity of enzymes used across taxa. Such surveys of enzymatic diversity will enable fine-tuning of industrial fermentation processes, e.g. for biofuel production. Additionally, G. marginata is a lethally poisonous mushroom, containing amatoxins, potent inhibitors of RNA polymerase II. While Amanita exhibits the greatest number of amatoxin producing species and produces the majority of human and animal fatalities, Galerina has been implicated in several poisonings.

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