Sequencing poisonous mushrooms to potentially create medicine

A team of MSU scientists has genetically sequenced two species of poisonous mushrooms, discovering they can theoretically produce billions of compounds through one molecular assembly line. This may open the door to efficiently tackling lethal diseases.

January 24, 2017 - Author: Layne Cameron

Jonathan Walton

A team of Michigan State University (MSU) scientists has genetically sequenced two species of poisonous mushrooms, discovering that they can theoretically produce billions of compounds through one molecular assembly line. This may open the door to efficiently tackling some lethal diseases.

The study, published in the journal BMC Genomics, reveals the DNA of two Amanita mushrooms, which are responsible for the majority of fatal mushroom poisonings. The team will focus on the “Death Cap,” which grows all over the West Coast and Europe, and the “Destroying Angel,” native to Michigan.

“We actually did a partial DNA sequence of the two mushrooms 10 years ago,” said Jonathan Walton, MSU AgBioResearch professor at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory and co-lead author. “As sequencing has gotten faster and cheaper, we were able to complete the project recently.”

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