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Evidence for Outcrossing via the Buller Phenomenon in a Substrate Simultaneously Inoculated with Spores and Mycelium of Agaricus bisporus

American Society for Microbiology
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  • Mycology


In Agaricus bisporus, traditional cultivars and most of the wild populations belong to A. bisporus var. bisporus, which has a predominantly pseudohomothallic life cycle in which most meiospores are heterokaryons (n + n). A lower proportion of homokaryotic (n) meiospores, which typify the heterothallic life cycle, also are produced. In wild populations, pseudohomothallism was thought previously to play a major role, but recent analyses have found that significant outcrossing also may occur. We inoculated a standard substrate for A. bisporus cultivation simultaneously with homokaryotic mycelium from one parent and spores from a second parent. Culture trays produced numerous sporocarps that could theoretically have resulted from five different reproductive modes (pseudohomothallism, selfing or outcrossing via heterothallism, and selfing or outcrossing via the Buller phenomenon [i.e., between a homokaryon and a heterokaryon]). Most or all of the sporocarps resulted from outcrossing between the inoculated homokaryon and the inoculated heterokaryotic spores (or mycelia that grew from them). These data broaden our understanding of population dynamics under field conditions and provide an outcrossing method that could be used in commercial breeding programs.

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