Fungal Genetics

Fairy rings magically prevent mutation

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Science  30 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6456, pp. 879-880
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6456.879-c

The fairy ring–forming fungus Marasmius oreades

PHOTO: WALLY EBERHART/GETTY IMAGES

Mutation can often occur as part of the process of cellular division and may have deleterious consequences for multicellular organisms. Through genomic sequencing of Marasmius oreades, a species of fairy ring mushroom, Hiltunen et al. found that in this relatively long-lived species, the accumulation of mutations is an order of magnitude less than previously discovered for any organism. This could not be attributed to purifying selection and indicates that this species has evolved high-fidelity replication and/or repair mechanisms to prevent mutation accumulation. Given that fungi, unlike mammals, do not sequester their reproductive germ cells, this is of interest in understanding how an organism can police its own cell division to maintain a low rate of mutation accumulation.

Curr. Biol. 29, 2758 (2019).

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