March 2021 Meeting
Monday, March 15th at 7:30 p.m.
Online meeting using Zoom
Speaker: Patrick Leacock
Program: "The Joy of Fungal Sex"
This presentation looks at the strange and wonderful diversity of reproductive strategies and life cycle options. Ever since fungi arrived on the land and developed hyphae, they have explored many ways to propagate, rarely using the basic male-female sex paradigm. Fusion of compatible hyphae controlled by mating genes replaced the use of single-celled gametes. Some fungi have two mating types; other fungi can have hundreds or thousands. Many fungi such as molds reproduce asexually, but when the going gets tough, some fungi can self-reproduce sexually. Mushrooms have gone a step further to keep their options open. Rather than cells having a diploid nucleus following mating, the nuclei from the two mated individuals remain separate, forming a dikaryon with two haploid nuclei in each cell. This allows a mated individual to fuse with and “fertilize” an unmated individual by donating compatible nuclei. Oh and those mushrooms that we love to collect and cook for dinner – those are spore-producing sex organs.