First Genetic Profile of an Aspergillus Section

A team of scientists out of the Technical University of Denmark presented the first sequence analysis of a fungal subgroup of Aspergillus.

A team of scientists out of the Technical University of Denmark presented the first sequence analysis of a fungal subgroup of Aspergillus. This genus plays a key role in agriculture, fermentation, biotechnology, and health, serving as the “Swiss Army knife of fungal genera,” said co-author Scott Baker.

Researchers looked at 23 genomes of section Nigri species, including A. heteromorphusA. aculeatinusA. iberucus, and multiple A. niger isolates. Thousands of new genes were classified, paying special interest to those involved in secondary metabolism, as they are significant in Aspergillus species delineation. By comparing across section Nigri, a genetic profile can be built and connected to known phenotypic characteristics of the group. In this future, this knowledge can be applied to industries that Aspergillus species play a role in. For example, author Mikael Andersen from the Technical University of Denmark claims that there is a possibility of identifying “new unique enzymes or to link an interesting bioactive compound to the biosynthetic genes.” Section Nigri was chosen because the group encompasses many species with industrial applications, with several acting as production organisms for enzymes.

This is the start of a long-term project comparing the genomes of more than 300 Aspergillus fungi. One of their main goals is to catalog carbohydrate active enzymes (CAzymes) that could aid in the production of sustainable fuel.


  1. DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Genetic profile for a section of Aspergillus fungi: Researchers build a genetic profile for a section of Aspergillus fungi.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2018.
  2. Tammi C. Vesth, Jane L. Nybo, Sebastian Theobald, Jens C. Frisvad, Thomas O. Larsen, Kristian F. Nielsen, Jakob B. Hoof, Julian Brandl, Asaf Salamov, Robert Riley, John M. Gladden, Pallavi Phatale, Morten T. Nielsen, Ellen K. Lyhne, Martin E. Kogle, Kimchi Strasser, Erin McDonnell, Kerrie Barry, Alicia Clum, Cindy Chen, Kurt LaButti, Sajeet Haridas, Matt Nolan, Laura Sandor, Alan Kuo, Anna Lipzen, Matthieu Hainaut, Elodie Drula, Adrian Tsang, Jon K. Magnuson, Bernard Henrissat, Ad Wiebenga, Blake A. Simmons, Miia R. Mäkelä, Ronald P. de Vries, Igor V. Grigoriev, Uffe H. Mortensen, Scott E. Baker, Mikael R. Andersen. Investigation of inter- and intraspecies variation through genome sequencing of Aspergillus section Nigri. Nature Genetics, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41588-018-0246-1

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