Symbiosis a driver of truffle diversity

(DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) Truffles are the fruiting bodies of the ectomycorrhizal (ECM) fungal symbionts residing on host plant roots. In many Ascomycota and Basidiomycota lineages, truffle-forming species have evolved independently in nearly every major group. This suggests that symbiosis drives evolution of truffle diversity and selects for specific traits. As reported in Nature Ecology & Evolution, an international team sought insights into the ECM lifestyle of truffle-forming species, conducting a comparative analysis of eight Pezizomycete fungi.