HUNTSVILLE, Ala – You may know it as your favorite pizza topping but researchers also know the button mushroom, or Agaricus bisporus, as a known decayer of leaves and other matter along the forest floor. Through an international collaboration including the HudsonAlpha Institute, the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute and numerous other research labs, the full genome and gene repertoire for the button mushroom has been completed, giving scientists a better understanding of its full capabilities.
“The button mushroom is important both as a food source and as a bio-degrader of leaf and wood matter,” said HudsonAlpha faculty investigator Jane Grimwood, Ph.D. “Understanding the role that Agaricus plays in the ecosystem could have important implications for forest carbon management in sustainable forests.” Grimwood and Jeremy Schmutz, also a principal investigator at HudsonAlpha, were part of the international team.
The button mushroom is the world’s most cultivated variety. Information gleaned by scientists may be used in breeding mushrooms with features that make them heartier and even more commercially viable.
“Our contribution to this very successful collaboration, was to finish or improve the genome,” Grimwood said. “This improvement resulted in the high quality reference genome that was then used by researchers worldwide to gain insight into the functional adaptation of this button mushroom.
Read the published paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in Scientist Live or through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Joint Genome Institute.
Media Contact: Beth Pugh
About HudsonAlpha: HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological problems. Its mission is three-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; fostering biotech entrepreneurship; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus allow serendipity to yield results in medicine and agriculture. Since opening in 2008, HudsonAlpha, under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, has built a name for itself in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and boasts 26 biotech companies on campus.