Why We Work On Fungi & Oomycetes

Some of us chose fungi because they are exquisite models. We wanted to answer fundamental biological questions using the systems that gave the world one gene-one enzyme and gamma tubulin, that helped to unravel the control of cell cycle and circadian rhythms

Some chose fungi because of their massive potential for damage and a desire to stop it. Every year fungal disease kills as many people as malaria or tuberculosis. Perhaps even more stunning, every year 20% of agricultural crops are lost with most of that loss caused by fungi. That lost food is especially important, given our ever-growing population.

Some chose fungi not because of their destructive potential, but because of their great capacity to make and secrete products, a capacity that is a direct result of the fungal hallmark of extracellular digestion. Every year industry uses 1.2 million tons of citric acid in products such as soft drinks. Those 1.2 million tons are made by a fungus. And, of course, fungi were using plants for biofuel long before it was trendy.

Michelle Momany, Adapted from Welcome Remarks at the 28th Fungal Genetics Conference

(Momany et al. 2015. Meeting Report: Fungal Genomics Meets Social Media: Highlights of the 28th Fungal Genetics Conference at Asilomar. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics.) http://www.g3journal.org/content/5/12/2523