Researchers Discover Evolutionary “Tipping Point” in Fungi

May 11, 2024

Scientists have found a “tipping point” in the evolution of fungi that throttles their growth and sculpts their shapes. The findings, published in the journal Cell Reports, demonstrate how small changes in environmental factors can lead to huge changes in evolutionary outcomes. Although fungi often bring to mind mushroom caps, fungi also have underground “roots” called mycelia. Mycelia are made up of thousands of interconnected, microscopic, finger-like cells called hyphae that grow into vast networks. Hyphae worm their way through the soil by growing from their tips.

Scientists have found a “tipping point” in the evolution of fungi that throttles their growth and sculpts their shapes. The findings, published in the journal Cell Reports, demonstrate how small changes in environmental factors can lead to huge changes in evolutionary outcomes.

Fungi are nature’s great composters. They wait within the forest floor to feed on fallen trees and autumn leaves, releasing essential nutrients from these plants back into the Earth.  

Although fungi often bring to mind mushroom caps, fungi also have underground “roots” called mycelia. Mycelia are made up of thousands of interconnected, microscopic, finger-like cells called hyphae that grow into vast networks. Hyphae worm their way through the soil by growing from their tips. To do so, they inflate themselves, similar to the long balloons used to make balloon animals.

The source of this news is from New York University

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