Fungi appeared on Earth around 1.5 billion years ago. Today, there may be as many as five million fungal species, and they are found everywhere, from the mushroom that pops up in your lawn to the mold on the food in the back of your refrigerator.
A collaboration of international scientists and funding agencies, led in part by MSU’s College of Natural Science plant biologist Frances Trail, will investigate seven fungi whose common ancestor dates back 270 million years. While the spores of the ancestor germinated to grow in an ancient environment, each of the seven species branched out on their fungal family tree to make homes in very different places, from ants to plants to humans, sometimes causing disease in their hosts.
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