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Penicillium chrysogenum in culture. Rob A. Samson, Jos Houbraken, Ronald P. de Vries

Penicillium chrysogenum is a commonly found member of this genus in both natural and man made biotopes. It is particularly well known as the industrial producer of penicillin. The industrial production strain Wisconsin 54-1255 for which the genome has been published, was recently shown to be a member of the related species Penicillium rubens. Therefore, the availability of this P. chrysogenum genome offers interesting opportunities for comparative genomics between these two species.

The Penicillium chrysogenum species complex that includes these two and other species also possesses a broad ability to degrade plant biomass and can therefore be a source of novel enzymes for biorefinery. They are related to the Aspergilli that also include several important industrial species. Comparative analysis of Aspergilli and Penicillia is likely to reveal evolutionary changes in fungal biology, in particular related to carbon/biomass utilization, production of secondary metabolites (e.g. antibiotics) and the regulatory systems driving these processes.

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