Nematophagous fungi are found in diverse taxa and thus evolved multiple times. One group is the nematode-trapping fungi that produce parasitic structures called traps to catch nematodes. The nematode trapping fungi contain hundreds of species that can grow both saprophytically as well as parasitically and form a monophyletic clade among the Orbiliaceae, Ascomycota. Previous phylogenetic studies have shown that the trapping mechanisms have evolved along two major lineages, one leading to the adhesive traps and the other into constricting rings.
To get a more detailed understanding of the genomic mechanisms for the evolution of parasitism in nematode-trapping fungi we have sequenced the genome of nematode-trapping fungi Monacrosporium haptotylum using 454 pyrosequencing.
This PhD project aims at investigating the genomic mechanisms leading to the adaptation of fungal host interactions in parasitic fungi. There are currently three non exclusive hypotheses that can explain the adaptation: Gene gain, Gene loss and Changes in gene regulation. I investigate these hypothesis using bioinformatics approaches such as Comparative genomics of fungi with different life styles, genome phylogeny and protein family evolution to study the expansion and contraction of gene duplicates.
Last modified 20 Nov 2012