Home • Rhizopogon vinicolor AM-OR11-026 v1.0
Rhizopogon vinicolor
Mt. Lemmon near Tucson Arizona 2012. Credit: Alija Mujic at Oregon State U.

Rhizopogon vinicolor Smith is an ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungus in family Rhizopogonaceae of order Boletales.  Genus Rhizopogon produce sexual basidiospores within hypogeous sporocarps (false truffles) and rely upon excavation and consumption of these sporocarps by mammals for spore dispersal. While genus Rhizopogon associates with many EM host trees in family Pinaceae, R. vinicolor is an obligate EM symbiont of Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas fir) (Massicotte et al. 1994). Along with its sister species, Rhizopogon vesiculosus, R. vinicolor makes up a major component of the EM fungal community colonizing the roots of P. menziesii across all forest age classes (Twieg et al 2007) and is especially abundant in young stands following disturbance (Luoma et al 2006).  P. menziesii is a tree of major ecological and economic importance. It is a dominant overstory tree in coniferous forests of the North American Pacific Northwest and it has been planted on a global scale as a source of high quality timber.  R. vinicolor occurs throughout the natural and introduced range of P. menziesii and is an important factor in the establishment and maintenance of P. menziesii forests.   

R. vinicolor and R. vesiculosus produce sporocarps that are difficult to distinguish morphologically yet they differ greatly in life history. They can occur in relatively equal abundance when found at the same site but R. vinicolor typically produces smaller genets and possesses little population structure on the landscape scale while R. vesiculosus produces larger genets and shows patterns of inbreeding at the landscape scale (Kretzer et al 2005, Beiler et al 2010, Dunham et al 2013). In addition to producing smaller genets in width, R. vinicolor explores the soil to a lesser depth than R. vesiculosus and displays vertical partitioning into the upper soil horizon when co-occuring with R. vesiculosus (Beiler et al. 2012).

The genome of Rhizopogon vinicolor will enable phylogenomic and population genomic studies of genus Rhizopogon and will allow for the study of genetic mechanisms that underly EM host specificity.  Along with the genome of Rhizopogon vesiculosus, this genome will allow deeper inquiry into the ecology and evolutionary biology of sympatric EM sister species.

Genome Reference(s)