Morchella conica CCBAS932 v1.0
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Morchella conica
Photo credit: Dr. Milan Gryndler

Within the framework of the JGI Mycorrhizal Genomics Initiative (MGI) and 1000 Fungal Genomes (1K FG) project, we are sequencing a phylogenetically and ecologically diverse suite of mycorrhizal fungi (Basidiomycota and Ascomycota), which include the major clades of symbiotic species associating with trees and woody shrubs. Analyses of these genomes will provide new insights into the diversity of mechanisms for the mycorrhizal symbiosis, including ericoid-, orchidoid- and ectomycorrhizal associations. A large collaborative effort led by PI’s of these projects, Francis Martin (INRA) and Joey Spatafora (OSU), aim for master publication(s) of the MGI and 1K FG data analyses. Researchers who wish to publish analyses using data from unpublished MGI genomes are respectfully required to contact the PI’s and JGI to avoid potential conflicts on data use and coordinate other publications with the MGI and 1K FG master paper(s).

Morchella conica

Morchella conica belongs to the true morel fungi. Morchella species appear to have either symbiotic mycorrhizal relationships with the roots of several trees or act as saprotrophs of multiple trees including chestnut, ash, oak, poplar and others. As saprotrophs, Morchella conica may be found associated with a wide range of various substrates including soil, decaying roots, compost and many others. The species is also often found in disturbed environments, such as areas destroyed by forest fire, where it may feed off the burnt plant matter and help with decomposition. The production of laccase, the enzyme involved in decomposition of lignin and other phenolics in soils, is triggered by high phenolic concentrations that points at its role in the decomposition of burnt material with high phenolics. As a consequence of its variable ecology ranging from symbiosis to saprotrophy and covering a wide range of substrates, Morchella conica can represent an excellent example of a species with a rich set of nutritional strategies. Its genome sequence may thus help to discover the prerequisites of the individual lifestyles and their regulation. Many of Morchella species are highly valued as edible species but their cultivation was so far rather unfeasible. Here again, the complete genome sequence may be a potential clue to solving this problem.