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Cryptic sex in fungi

Authors
Journal
Fungal Biology Reviews
1749-4613
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
23
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.fbr.2009.10.004
Keywords
  • Cryptic Sex
  • Fungi
  • Meiotic Recombination
  • Mating-Type Locus

Abstract

Abstract It is generally accepted that genetic recombination in eukaryotes is mostly driven by meiotic divisions as part of the sexual cycle. The maintenance of the sexual cycle that combines beneficial genes in sexual offspring from two parents provides an advantage for a species in novel or changing environments. Sex thus preserves beneficial and removes deleterious mutations. However, some eukaryotes, including many fungi lack sex entirely, and thus, it was assumed that recombination occurring during mitotic (somatic) divisions is the main force to shape the genome of these asexually propagating microbes. However, several recent reports of a sexual cycle in asexually propagating fungi put this concept in question. Here, we summarize the accumulating evidence for the general occurrence of cryptic sex in filamentous fungi in which sexual reproduction has not been previously reported.

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