Advancement of Functional Genomics of a Model Species of Neurospora and Its Use for Ecological Genomics of Soil Fungi

  • Kwangwon LeeEmail author
  • John Dighton
Part of the Soil Biology book series (SOILBIOL, volume 36)


Our daily life is deeply interwoven with diverse filamentous fungi. These fungi are essential to many ecosystem functions. The estimates of the potential number of fungi predicted to occur on Earth are between 1.5 million and over five million species. We know, however, very little of the biology and ecological functions of most of these fungal species. Only few chosen fungal species have been used for systematic studies on diverse biological problems. Since there is a limited amount of resources in learning fungal biology, it is beneficial to have a model organism, in which new techniques are tested and detailed genetic and molecular mechanisms elucidated for diverse biological phenomena. However, a concerted and creative effort by a group of researchers is necessary to address ecological questions in non-model and non-laboratory microorganisms. By doing so, we can translate genomics data from the few fungal model organisms into the real-world function of the purported functional groups of saprotrophs, pathogens, mycorrhizae, and endophytes. Neurospora crassa has been a successful filamentous fungal model organism: its study has greatly advanced our understanding of its physiology, biochemistry, and molecular makeup, but surprisingly little about its ecology.

We have a focused goal in this chapter. We will summarize recent advances of genomics and post-genomics tools in the model fungal organism Neurospora. Then, we will summarize current efforts in genomics studies in Neurospora and soil fungi. Our hope is to shed light on how genomics studies in the model organism Neurospora can be extrapolated to advance our understanding of the ecological functions and biology of soil fungi. Our emphasis will be more on the current advancement in two topics, photobiology and lignocellulose metabolism.


Fungal Species Fungal Community Lignocellulosic Biomass Soil Fungus Cellulosic Biofuel 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Computational and Integrative Biology, Department of BiologyRutgers UniversityCamdenUSA
  2. 2.Rutgers Pinelands Field StationNew LisbonUSA

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