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Genome sequencing of Rigidoporus microporus provides insights on genes important for wood decay, latex tolerance and interspecific fungal interactions


Fungal plant pathogens remain a serious threat to the sustainable agriculture and forestry, despite the extensive efforts undertaken to control their spread. White root rot disease is threatening rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) plantations throughout South and Southeast Asia and Western Africa, causing tree mortality and severe yield losses. Here, we report the complete genome sequence of the basidiomycete fungus Rigidoporus microporus, a causative agent of the disease. Our phylogenetic analysis confirmed the position of R. microporus among the members of Hymenochaetales, an understudied group of basidiomycetes. Our analysis further identified pathogen's genes with a predicted role in the decay of plant cell wall polymers, in the utilization of latex components and in interspecific interactions between the pathogen and other fungi. We also detected putative horizontal gene transfer events in the genome of R. microporus. The reported first genome sequence of a tropical rubber tree pathogen R. microporus should contribute to the better understanding of how the fungus is able to facilitate wood decay and nutrient cycling as well as tolerate latex and utilize resinous extractives.

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