Scientists have just discovered a frightening revelation about the world’s most dangerous mold. It is possible that the spread to new areas is progressing because it is no longer able to breed like before.
Mushrooms are famous for being poisonous, but in reality, most of them only temporarily make people sick.
One extreme European death mushroom (Amanita phalloides) accounts for 90% of all recorded mushroom deaths worldwide.
Researchers have now revealed how this dangerous plant spreads so quickly and easily in North America that it kills many people thinking they’re eating it.
A. phalloides, which live in Europe, combine their genomes to create new generations.
It turns out that death sparrows don’t need a mate to reproduce. A study on A. phalloides led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States revealed that the fungus can use the chromosomes of a single individual to form spores.
The discovery is based on the genomes of 86 mushroom species collected in California since 1993 and in parts of Europe since 1978.
Of the US samples, deathcaps appear to have been able to reproduce both sexually and asexually for at least 17 years, and in some cases 30 years.
Specimens collected at two different locations in 2014 contained exactly the same genes and turned out to be the same fungus. In addition, there are “individuals” that were collected once in 2004 and “individuals” that were collected again 10 years later.
“The invasive fungi’s diverse reproductive strategies appear to drive their rapid spread, revealing deep similarities between plant, animal and fungal invasions,” the researchers wrote in their paper. It has become,” he wrote.
Asexual spores are formed by the fungus duplicating its own set of chromosomes into two identical packages. Sexual spores, on the other hand, are formed when two different parents each donate their own set of chromosomes to their offspring.
Among fungi that form mushrooms, many species are known to reproduce with both sexual and asexual spores depending on the situation. No one knew.
Sexual reproduction enables species evolution and adaptation by introducing more genetic variation into populations. However, having an asexual mode allows individual mushrooms to spread rapidly and survive for years on their own.
When mushroom spores land on a healthy surface, they germinate and begin to set fruit. Thus, asexual spores enable the widespread dissemination of individual mushrooms without the need for mating partners or genetically distinct offspring.
Deathcup mushrooms are native to northern Europe, but in recent decades have been able to invade new habitats in other parts of Europe, North America and Australia. Asexual reproduction may be one of the main reasons.
Interestingly, researchers found that the genes of asexual spores collected in California between 1993 and 2015 were not significantly different from those of the same species produced in the same region.
A theoretical model suggests that individual death capsules could survive for years by replicating until they find other death capsules to mate with.
“Some of these mushroom offspring mate and some do not, and the cycle repeats itself,” the researchers argue.
While other toadstools are often brightly colored and poisonous, deathcaps are unremarkable and can easily deceive humans and pets looking for delicious food in forests and parks.
Half the death cap is enough. Without medical intervention, symptoms can appear as early as 6 hours after ingestion of the fruiting body, and liver failure can follow shortly thereafter.
It is clear that a deadly hut infestation poses a serious risk to human and animal health. In 2016, 14 cases of human poisoning were attributed to the fungus during a particularly severe local death cap outbreak in San Francisco.
There are typically only a few such cases per year in the United States.
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