Leveraging single-cell genomics to expand the fungal tree of life
Nature Microbiology

Authors: Steven R. Ahrendt, C. Alisha Quandt, Doina Ciobanu, Alicia Clum, Asaf Salamov, Bill Andreopoulos, Jan-Fang Cheng, Tanja Woyke, Adrian Pelin, Bernard Henrissat, Nicole K. Reynolds, Gerald L. Benny, Matthew E. Smith, Timothy Y. James and Igor V. Grigoriev
Environmental DNA surveys reveal that most fungal diversity represents uncultured species. We sequenced the genomes of eight uncultured species across the fungal tree of life using a new single-cell genomics pipeline. We show that, despite a large variation in genome and gene space recovery from each single amplified genome (SAG), ≥90% can be recovered by combining multiple SAGs. SAGs provide robust placement for early-diverging lineages and infer a diploid ancestor of fungi. Early-diverging fungi share metabolic deficiencies and show unique gene expansions correlated with parasitism and unculturability. Single-cell genomics holds great promise in exploring fungal diversity, life cycles and metabolic potential.