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Science Careers Blog

July 9, 2009

More Fun with Fungi

A note from a reader:

Editor:

It was great to see fungi out in science careers as a career option!  Having working with fungi since an undergraduate I am often surprised at how little focus they get given the diversity of jobs related to mycology (from brewing, baking, pharmaceuticals, chemical industry, agriculture, forestry, academia, growing edible ones), so I am sure all people like myself who try to interest students in fungi will find the article a useful thing to wave about - it is already printed out and up in pride-of-place on my notice board outside the lab.

I was also interested to see the mycology labs and resources highlighted.  In case you ever write an update on this topic, one unique US fungal resource is the Fungal Genetics Stock Center here at the University of Missouri in Kansas City (http://www.fgsc.net/) and housed next door to me.  The FGSC has been funded by the National Science Foundation for over 50 years, and distributes c. 30,000 strains of fungi at cost around the world every year, mostly to researchers interested in the genetics of fungi.  Fungi are excellent for genetic research since unlike plants and animals they normally have only one copy of each chromosome (this saves a ton of time): the FGSC even has the original strains used by Beadle and Tatum for which they were awarded the Nobel prize for showing one gene gives rise to one protein, done in the fungus Neurospora crassa, and they are more than happy to give them out to people!  The FGSC is not a big career option (they have 2-3 full time people), but their resources and distribution of materials (not to mention what must be nearly a record for continuous federal funding) further highlights the importance of mycology and potential careers in this area.

With best wishes,

Alexander Idnurm, Ph.D.
Division of Cell Biology and Biophysics
School of Biological Sciences
University of Missouri-Kansas City
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