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Conocybe apala
Fruiting bodies of Conocybe apala. [Photo source: László Nagy]

Conocybe apala SZMC-NL-8967

Conocybe apala (Fr.) Arnolds, also known as Milky Cone cap fungus is a member of the genus Conocybe belonging to the Bolbitiaceae family of the Agaricales. The genus Conocybe is a diverse group of saprobic fungi commonly found growing in lawns, grasslands, dead moss, herbivore dung, and decaying wood mostly during the summer and fall with hot and humid conditions. They are a group of ephemeral fungi characterized by a cone shaped cap with long and fragile stipes and are widely distributed worldwide. The cap of C. apala is around 0.5-2.5 cm broad, with 1.5-5 cm long stipes with no veil. The spore print is rust brown in color. They are not toxic in general but have been reported to contain traces of phallotoxins1 (characteristic to Amanita spp.). The genome of C. apala was sequenced to further our understanding of the phylogenetic diversity of fungi and their role in the ecosystem.

The genus Conocybe occupies a phylogenetic position in the Agaricales that has been poorly sampled before; therefore, this genome will be key to inferring a stable phylogenetic backbone of the Agaricales. Conocybe species and, in general, most Bolbitiaceae are litter decomposers, which, together with the Psathyrellaceae (where e.g. Coprinopsis cinerea belongs), form two of the most diverse litter decomposer clades in the Agaricales. As a typical representative of this guild, the C. apala genome will aid the understanding of this ecological strategy in more detail. Our understanding of the enzymatic apparatus of litter decomposing species has so far been informed only by a few genomes (e.g. those of Agaricus, Coprinopsis spp. and Volvariella). Sequencing more species belonging to this important group will shed light on the nutritional diversity of mushroom-forming fungi.

The Conocybe apala material used for sequencing was collected in the field.

References

  1. Hallen, H.E., Watling, R. & Adams, G.C. (2003). Taxonomy and Toxicity of Conocybe apala and Related Species. Mycological Research 107(8): 969-979.