The fungus that refused to have sex: reverse evolution

The fungus that refused to have sex: reverse evolution

Scientists have found that one species of fungus, a parasite on human skin, in the evolution of abandoned sexual reproduction in favour of self-copying — all in order to survive.

For the vast majority of living beings reproduction is a troublesome routine process which does not bring them much pleasure. Particularly illustrative example insects, many species of which during mating pierce the body of the partner or even bite off his limbs. It is not surprising that at least one of the mushrooms decided to refuse mating. This tells the research published on the portal of Genetics. It turned out that this is due to… dirty feet of a man.

The researchers conducted a global study of Trichophyton rubrum, the most abundant source of fungal skin infections in humans. They collected more than 100 samples of the mushroom people in seven countries, including the US, Germany and Vietnam, and analyzed their genetic structure. All samples, except one, adhere to the traditional fungal infection strategies pairing, but one refused to interbreed with T. rubrum. Further analysis showed that the fungi to be 99.97% the same — they were members of the same species.

According to the researchers, this indicates that “T. rubrum, rarely reproduce sexually, and maybe all reproduced exclusively asexually”. At first glance, nothing exotic in this: for many fungi characteristic of both asexual and sexual reproduction. However, this fungus differs from the fellows that he has lost (not gained) the ability to have sexual reproduction as a result of evolution. Scientists believe that after the fungus has elected as its sole owner, he was in isolation and the search of sexual partners has become for him a luxury.