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Clavogaster virescens
Image credit: David Orlovich

Clavogaster virescens

Clavogaster is a genus of saprotrophic fungi in the family Strophariaceae. This genus contains two species: C. virescens and Clavogaster sp. ‘whakapapa’, both of which are endemic to New Zealand. Clavogaster virescens is secotioid (truffle-like morphology with a stipe and closed cap) species and presents a pale blue pileus colouration. It is commonly known as the blue pouch fungus.

Saprotrophic fungi are an essential element in the global carbon cycle. They contain an array of enzymes allowing the breakdown of biopolymers. Discovering novel enzymes involved in the degradation of biopolymers may enable access to previously recalcitrant energy stocks.

Truffle-like fungi are fungi that have a closed hymenium and are unable to actively release their spores to the environment. Many truffle-like fungi have evolved from a mushroom-like ancestor. Evolution of the truffle-like habit is thought to be a response to past climatic changes and animal grazing. The repeated, independent evolution of truffle-like fungi from mushroom-like ancestors has interested mycologists since these relationships became apparent.

Currently, very little is understood about the molecular mechanisms that have led to the transition from a mushroom to a truffle-like morphology. Clavogaster virescens is part of the "Acquisition of the sequestrate (truffle like) habit by basidiomycete macrofungi" project which seeks to elucidate the mechanisms involved in the transition.

This species comprises part of a collaborative investigation of the genetic changes that gave rise to secotioid and truffle-like fungal forms. The collaborating consortium is coordinated by David Catcheside. We request that researchers wishing to publish analyses of this genome prior to its publication by the consortium to please email [email protected] and JGI for permission.