Our current projects involve evolution of two species of a genus of human pathogenic fungi, Coccidioides, evolution of a model fungus, Neurospora, and the diversity of fungi that decay the bioenergy crops Miscanthus and sugarcane. We are initiating two additional studies about the diversity of fungi, one on those that populate indoor environments, and another about those associated with the roots of pine trees throughout North America.
Recently published work involves phylogenomics of Ascomycota fungi and adaptation by gene family expansion and contraction, population genomics and adaptation by introgression and selection of Neurospora crassa, and female mate choice and the evolution of reinforced reproductive barriers in Neurospora.
Future work will focus on population genomics of ecotmycorrhizal fungi and population genomics of Neurospora discreta in western North America.
Some recent publications from the lab:
Turner, E., Jacobson, D. J. and J. W. Taylor. 2011. Genetic architecture of a reinforced, postmating, reproductive isolation barrier between Neurospora species indicates evolution via natural selection. PLoS Genetics 7:e1002204.
Shrestha, P., Szaro, T. M., Bruns, T. D., and J. W. Taylor. 2011. Systematic search for cultivatable fungi that best deconstruct cell walls of Miscanthus and sugarcane in the field. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 77:5490-5504.
Ellison, C. E., C. Hall, D. Kowbel, J. Welch, R. B. Brem, N. L. Glass, and J. W. Taylor. 2011. Population genomics and local adaptation in wild isolates of a model microbial eukaryote. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (USA) 108:2831-2836.
Sharpton TJ, Stajich JE, Rounsley SD, Gardner MJ, Wortman JR, Jordar VS, Maiti R, Kodira CD, Neafsey DE, Zeng Q, Hung C-Y, McMahan C, Muszewska A, Grynberg M, Mandel MA, Kellner EM, Barker BM, Galgiani JN, Orbach MJ, Kirkland TN, Cole GT, Henn MR, Birren BW, and JW Taylor. 2009. Comparative genomic analyses of the human fungal pathogens Coccidioides and their relatives. Genome Research 19 1722-1731.
In the News
In a demonstration of “reverse-ecology,” UC Berkeley biologists have shown that one can determine an organism’s adaptive traits by looking first at its genome and checking for variations across a population. The study offers a powerful new tool in evolutionary genetics research, one that could be used to help monitor the effects of climate change and habitat destruction.