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Home • Rickenella mellea v1.0 (SZMC22713)
Photo of Rickenella mellea v1.0 (SZMC22713)
Photo by Malcolm Storey

Rickenella is a small genus that produces minute mushrooms with a typical “agaricoid” morphology (i.e., they have a cap, stipe and gills). This type of fruiting body is very widespread in mushroom forming fungi, particularly in the large order Agaricales, but Rickenella is a member of the Hymenochaetales, an order containing mostly resupinate (crustlike) forms as well as many bracket fungi with hard, corky fruiting bodies and rusty brown colors (such as Fomitiporia mediterranea, which has been previously sequenced by the JGI). Thus, Rickenella represents an independent origin of the agaricoid habit. Rickenella is one of the earlier-branching members of the Hymenochaetales and molecular phylogenies suggest a high pace of phenotypic evolution in the early evolution of this order, which has produced a considerable diversity of nutritional modes and morphologies. Ecological strategies include saprotrophs (decayers), moss-associated and ectomycorrhizal fungi, whereas fruiting body morphologies range from mushrooms, coral-fungi, resupinate to the dominant polypore (bracket fungus) morphology. Within this consortium, the genome sequence of Rickenella will provide us with an insight into the early episode of the evolution of a speciose clade where the rate of phenotype evolution has been most likely elevated. The genome sequence of Rickenella will be used in a comparative analysis of fruiting body types in the Agaricomycetes, where it will represent one of the independent origins of the mushroom morphology. The genome of Rickenella mellea will also contribute to a better understanding of the nutritional modes in the Agaricomycetes. There are several groups of Agaricomycetes associated with mosses, many of which are difficult or impossible to grow in culture. However, the precise nature of the interaction of the fungus with the moss is not known. Rickenella is unusual among moss-associated Agaricomycetes in being relatively easy to bring into culture. We expect to better understand the nutritional strategy of this species by analyzing its genome.

Genome Reference(s)