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Tuber magnatum
Tuber magnatum (Photo : C. Murat, INRA Nancy)

Within the framework of the Mycorrhizal Genomics Initiative (MGI), we are sequencing a phylogenetically and ecologically diverse suite of mycorrhizal fungi, which include the major clades of symbiotic species associating with trees and woody shrubs. Analyses of these genomes will provide insight into the diversity of nutritional and developmental transitions in mycorrhizal fungi.

Tuber magnatum – the Icon of the European Gastronomy

The White Truffle (Tuber magnatum Pico) is a 'cult-food', one of the worldwide recognized icon of the European gastronomy and culture, for which genomic information could act as a knowledge platform to improve its production and environmental sustainability. The fruiting body of T. magnatum is an edible truffle (= hypogeous ascocarp), which is a highly appreciated delicacy for its delicate organoleptic properties (i.e., taste and perfumes).

Tuber magnatum Pico is a filamentous ascomycete (Pezizomycetes, Pezizales, Tuberaceae) typically found as mycelia in soils in Italy and the Balkans. It forms a mutualistic mycorrhizal association with roots of deciduous trees, such as poplars, oaks and willows.

The genome of T. magnatum was sequenced within the framework of the TUBEREVOL project by the Martin’s and Bonfante’s labs. The comparison of the White Truffle genome to the available genomes of the Black Truffle of Perigord (Tuber melanosporum), the Pig Truffle (Choiromyces venosus), the Morel (Morchella conica), and the saprotrophic Pezizomycetes Ascobolus immersus and Pyronema confluens, will provide novel insight into the evolution of the symbiotic life-style in the  Pezizomycetes, an early-diverging lineage of filamentous Ascomycetes. This project will also present an opportunity to study morphological fruit body transitions in the Pezizomycetes as a model system. It has been hypothesized that ectomycorrhizal hypogeous mushrooms evolved repeatedly and independently from epigeous forms. A direct comparison of the genome of M. conica to the genomes of truffles, such as C. venosus, T. melanosporum and T. magnatum, will be instrumental to characterize the gene repertoires associated to the development of hypogeous fruiting bodies.

Genome Reference(s)