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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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