Mutualism of the month: Frogs and a protective bacterial complement

Mutualism of the month: Frogs and a protective bacterial complement

The endemic Panamánian golden frog was at risk of complete extinction from the threat of a pathogenic fungus. It has since been raised in captivity with the hope of reintroduction to the wild. The only problem: the fungus is still around. Learn how researchers are developing a treatment for these amphibians involving mutualistic fungus-fighting bacteria in this month's mutualism.

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What's in a Name?

What's in a Name?

Fungal taxonomy may not be the world's most exciting subject, but those whom it does interest approach it with a passion. Over centuries of identification, classification, intense debate, and re-classification, even the most obscure fungi can end up with colorful histories that raise important philosophical questions about how we deal with the problem of naming things. Take a journey into the past with a shelf fungus called Ganoderma applanatum and see biology evolve from a gentleman's hobby into a complex science.

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How to Travel Through Time With DNA

How to Travel Through Time With DNA

An organism's genome is much more than a blueprint for its development. All along the double helix lie remnants of its ancestors, the half-buried and weather-scarred bricks of the evolutionary road its lineage traveled. In this post, learn how genes from modern fungi were used to determine the origin of the white rot group, which was responsible for solving an ancient environmental crisis.

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How Fungi Saved the World

How Fungi Saved the World

A long time ago, back before the dinosaurs were even a twinkle in a primitive reptile's eye and before that reptile's ancestor was even a twinkle in a primitive amphibian's eye, before plants thought seeds were a neat idea and invertebrates were disquietingly large, terrestrial life found itself with a bit of a problem. We're in the Carboniferous period, and the world's biggest coal deposits are being laid down in the first forests. The atmosphere is much different than in modern times: carbon dioxide concentrations are approaching disastrously low levels, and oxygen is soaring. The foot-long dragonflies that flit through this dense, breathable atmosphere are having a good time, but we're on the brink of a major ice age caused by global cooling.

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Fungi: A Tree's Best Friend

Fungi: A Tree's Best Friend

Fungi are all around you - those mushrooms you got at the grocery store yesterday, the mold on that tomato you forgot in the fridge, and the yeast that gives wine its mellow mood, but were you aware they can also help plants grow? In fact, without this weird group of fungi, we wouldn't have a lot of the plants we currently depend on!

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