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Research Abstracts Online
January 2008 - March 2009

University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Biological Sciences and
College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences
Department of Plant Biology

PI: David J. McLaughlin

Assembling the Fungal Tree of Life: Resolving the Evolutionary History of the Fungi

AFTOL: Resolving the Evolutionary History of the Fungi, the successor to the first AFTOL project, will contribute to understanding fungal phylogeny at multiple levels, and will promote training and education in fungal biology. This study is designed around explicit hypotheses that were either not resolved by the experimental design of AFTOL 1 or are the direct result of the findings of AFTOL 1. These hypotheses will be tested through analyses of large phylogenomic datasets and selected subcellular characters. Ontologies for subcellular characters will be developed, which will promote greater integration of nonmolecular characters in fungal systematics. The specific objectives are: resolve the deep nodes of the fungal tree of life using molecular and subcellular data; develop new tools for fungal phyloinformatics, including construction of comprehensive trees; and promote awareness of the fungal tree of life through outreach and training. The University of Minnesota group is coordinating analysis of subcellular characters as well as studying molecular phylogenetics of selected species. They are using supercomputing resources for phylogenetic analyses of molecular and subcellular data. During this period, these resources have been used to analyze molecular phylogenetic relationships in the family Psathyrellaceae. MSI resources will be used next for analysis of a hypogeous genus of Peziziomycotina and a genus in the Agaricaceae.

Group Members

Rosanne Healy, Graduate Student
Arun Kumar, Research Associate
Mahajabeem Padamsee, Graduate Student