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Home • Ophiocordyceps sinensis IOZ07
Photo of Ophiocordyceps sinensis IOZ07
Maximum-Likelihood phylogeny generated by FastTree for Ophiocordyceps sinensis IOZ07 and related species

The genome sequence and gene models of Ophiocordyceps sinensis IOZ07 were not determined by the Joint Genome Institute (JGI), but were downloaded from NCBI on June 27, 2020. Please note that this copy of the genome is not maintained by NCBI and is therefore not automatically updated. The JGI Annotation Pipeline was used to add additional functional annotation to the author's chromosomes and proteins.

Ophiocordyceps sinensis (formerly known as Cordyceps sinensis) or Yarsa-gumba, Yarsha-gumba or Yarcha-gumba, यार्सागुम्बा (in Nepali language) is an entomopathogenic fungus (a fungus that grows on insects) in the family Ophiocordycipitaceae. It mainly found in the meadows above 3,500 meters (11,483 feet) in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, Bhutan, India and Tibet. It parasitizes larvae of ghost moths and produces a fruiting body which used to be valued as a herbal remedy. However, the fruiting bodies harvested in nature usually contain high amounts of arsenic and other heavy metals so they are potentially toxic and sales have been strictly regulated by the CFDA (China Food and Drug Administration) in 2016. O. sinensis parasitizes the larvae of moths within the family Hepialidae; specifically genera from the Tibetan Plateau, and the Himalayas that are found between 3-5000m ASL. The fungus germinates in the living larva, kills and mummifies it, and then a dark brown stalk-like fruiting body which is a few centimeters long emerges from the corpse and stands upright. It is known in English colloquially as caterpillar fungus, or by its more prominent names yartsa gunbu ("winter worm, summer grass"), or dōng chóng xià cǎo. O. sinensis is classified as a medicinal mushroom, and its use has a long history in traditional Chinese medicine as well as traditional Tibetan medicine. The hand-collected, intact fungus-caterpillar body is valued by herbalists as medicine, and because of its cost, its use is also a status symbol. This fruiting bodies of the fungus are not yet cultivated commercially, but the mycelium form can be cultivated in vitro. Overharvesting and overexploitation have led to the classification of O. sinensis as an endangered species in China. Additional research needs to be carried out in order to understand its morphology and growth habits for conservation and optimum utilization.

Genome Reference(s)