The world's deadliest mushroom has spread across the US
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Scientists have discovered a new fact about the most dangerous mushroom in the world – pale grebe (Amanita phalloides). It no longer breeds as previously thought, which may help it to enter new regions. Data from a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA is published in bioRxiv.
It is known that of all reported deaths from mushrooms worldwide, 90% are associated with the pale grebe alone. Researchers have figured out how this type of fungus spread so quickly and easily across North America, causing numerous deaths because people mistakenly thought it was a hearty meal.< br />
In its native European ranges, the pale grebe creates new generations by combining genomes with each other. But as it turns out, it doesn't always need a partner to reproduce. The fungus can produce spores using only one individual's chromosomes.
The discovery is based on the genomes of 86 mushrooms collected in California since 1993 and in parts of Europe since 1978. Based on specimens from the US, pale grebes appear to have been able to reproduce both sexually and asexually for at least 17 years, possibly as long as 30 years.
The fact that many mushroom species reproduce in two ways , depending on the circumstances, has been known for a long time. But no one knew that this also applies to the pale grebe.
Asexual reproduction helps fungi spread quickly and survive for years on their own. When the spore of the fungus lands on a healthy surface, it germinates and begins to bear fruit.
The pale grebe is originally from northern Europe, but over the past decades it has been introduced to new habitats in other parts of Europe, as well as in North America and Australia Asexual reproduction may be the reason.
Half the cap of this fungus is enough to kill a human.
Now that scientists have a better idea of how pale grebes spread in North America, they may be able to start developing strategies to contain their breeding.
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