Sexual reproduction is ubiquitous throughout the eukaryotic kingdom, but the capacity of pathogenic fungi to undergo sexual reproduction has been a matter of intense debate. Pathogenic fungi maintained a complement of conserved meiotic genes but the populations appeared to be clonally derived. This debate was resolved first with the discovery of an extant sexual cycle and then unisexual reproduction. Unisexual reproduction is a distinct form of homothallism that dispenses with the requirement for an opposite mating type. Pathogenic and nonpathogenic fungi previously thought to be asexual are able to undergo robust unisexual reproduction. We review here recent advances in our understanding of the genetic and molecular basis of unisexual reproduction throughout fungi and the impact of unisex on the ecology and genomic evolution of fungal species.
Roach, KC; Feretzaki, M; Sun, S; Heitman, J
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