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    Re: Science Daily~Scientifically Rethinking Fungi's Abilitie

    Posted by Deborah on 3/19/10

    Benlate. I recall FF referring to that in detail and to this
    very issue. He had loads of info on this.

    M o n s a n t o is taking a lot of heat, more international
    though.

    On 3/18/10, Sharon wrote:
    > Deborah,
    >
    > Yes. Of course the chemicals have helped to cause mutations
    in
    > the fungi. Benelate is one example that has caused dominate
    > strains of aspergillus. That was a major problem with the
    crops
    > in Florida several years back. Round-up was another named of
    > causes similar effects (but I don't know that one in detail).
    > These chemists seem to forget that fungi, bacteria and viruses
    > are living substances who want to survive just as much as any
    > other living thing. Of course they fight back and change with
    > each threat thrown at them.
    >
    > That paper that was published in Nature had MANY researchers
    > who reached it conclusions. Its cites something like 20
    > authors and contributors.
    >
    > On 3/18/10, Deborah wrote:
    >>
    >> Thanks Sharon, that is an very interesting article. I
    >> suspected this but had no way to verify.
    >>
    >> I wonder if unleashing so many chemicals into the world has
    >> had anything to do with their increased rate of adaptability
    >> and transference.
    >>
    >>
    >> On 3/18/10, Sharon wrote:
    >>> "..this study we found fungi able to transfer an infectious
    >>> capability to a different strain in a single generation,"
    >>> he said. "We've probably underestimated this phenomenon,
    >>> and it indicates that fungal strains may become pathogenic
    >>> faster than we used to think possible."
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> "..suggests that fungi have the capacity to rapidly change
    >>> the make-up of their genomes and become infectious to
    >>> plants and possibly animals, including humans."
    >>>
    >>> "...evolution of virulence in fungal strains that was once
    >>> believed to be slow has now been shown to occur quickly,
    >>> and may force a renewed perspective on how fungi can
    >>> behave, change and transfer infectious abilities."
    >>>
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> ScienceDaily (Mar. 17, 2010) Fungi have significant
    >>> potential for "horizontal" gene transfer, a new study has
    >>> shown, similar to the mechanisms that allow bacteria to
    >>> evolve so quickly, become resistant to antibiotics and
    >>> cause other serious problems.
    >>>
    >>> This discovery, to be published March 18 in the journal
    >>> Nature, suggests that fungi have the capacity to rapidly
    >>> change the make-up of their genomes and become infectious
    >>> to plants and possibly animals, including humans.
    >>>
    >>> They are not nearly as confined to the more gradual
    >>> processes of conventional evolution as had been believed,
    >>> scientists say. And this raises issues not only for crop
    >>> agriculture but also human health, because fungi are much
    >>> closer on the "evolutionary tree" to humans than bacteria,
    >>> and consequently fungal diseases are much more difficult to
    >>> treat.
    >>>
    >>> The genetic mechanisms fungi use to do this are different
    >>> than those often used by bacteria, but the end result can
    >>> be fairly similar. The evolution of virulence in fungal
    >>> strains that was once believed to be slow has now been
    >>> shown to occur quickly, and may force a renewed perspective
    >>> on how fungi can behave, change and transfer infectious
    >>> abilities.
    >>>
    >>> "Prior to this we've believed that fungi were generally
    >>> confined to vertical gene transfer or conventional
    >>> inheritance, a slower type of genetic change based on the
    >>> interplay of DNA mutation, recombination and the effects of
    >>> selection," said Michael Freitag, an assistant professor of
    >>> biochemistry and biophysics at Oregon State University.
    >>>
    >>> "But in this study we found fungi able to transfer an
    >>> infectious capability to a different strain in a single
    >>> generation," he said. "We've probably underestimated this
    >>> phenomenon, and it indicates that fungal strains may become
    >>> pathogenic faster than we used to think possible."
    >>>
    >>> Researchers from the Center for Genome Research and
    >>> Biocomputing at OSU collaborated on this study with a large
    >>> international group of scientists, including principal
    >>> investigators from The Broad Institute in Massachusetts,
    >>> the University of Amsterdam, and the USDA Agricultural
    >>> Research Service at the University of Minnesota.
    >>>
    >>> Bacteria use "horizontal" genetic transfer through
    >>> chromosomes and DNA plasmids to change quickly, which is
    >>> one reason that antibiotic resistance can often develop.
    >>> This capability was believed to be possible, but rare, in
    >>> fungi. In the new study, based on a genome-wide analysis of
    >>> three Fusarium species, it was shown experimentally that
    >>> complete chromosomes were being transferred between
    >>> different fungal strains, along with the ability to cause
    >>> infection. Various Fusarium fungi can infect both plants
    >>> and humans.
    >>>
    >>> In humans, fungal infections are less common than those
    >>> caused by bacteria, but can be stubborn and difficult to
    >>> treat -- in part, because fungi are far more closely
    >>> related to animals, including humans, than are bacteria.
    >>> That limits the types of medical treatments that can be
    >>> used against them. Fungal infections are also a serious
    >>> problem in people with compromised immune systems,
    >>> including AIDS patients, and can be fatal.
    >>>
    >>> According to Freitag, this new understanding of fungal
    >>> genetics and evolution is great news.
    >>>
    >>> For one thing, it may help researchers to better understand
    >>> the types of fungal strains that are most apt to develop
    >>> resistance to fungicides, and help crop scientists develop
    >>> approaches to minimize that problem.
    >>>
    >>> Fungal diseases are a major problem in crop agriculture,
    >>> and billions of dollars are spent around the world every
    >>> year to combat new and emerging fungal pathogens in plants,
    >>> animals and humans.
    >>>
    >>> On a more basic level, this study provides evidence that
    >>> the "tree of life," with one trunk and many branches, is
    >>> outdated. It should be replaced by a "network of life" in
    >>> which many horizontal connections occur between different
    >>> species.
    >>>
    >>>

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