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IMC10 update

IMC10 is the largest and most diverse mycological gathering and happens only once every four years and is now only a few weeks away. More than 980 abstracts for oral and poster presentations have already been submitted to IMC10 (https://doi.org/www.imc10.com). The theme of this congress is “Fungal Biodiversity, Physiology and Ecology in a Changing Environment”, with a full programme of a keynote and eight plenary lectures, 57 symposia, oral and poster presentations, as well as meetings of special interest groups and three nomenclatural sessions during these five days. Pre- and post-congress workshops and excursions with various topics and destinations also are available to round out one’s schedule.

The keynote address is to be given by Pedro W. Crous, the dinner speech by Lene Lange, and the plenary lecturers are Morakot Tanticharoen, Pier Luigi Nomis, Joey Spatafora, June Kwon-Chung, Xingzhong Liu, Gregory Jedd, Gerald Bills, and Lynne Boddy.

Do not be put off by the recent political events in Thailand. King Bhumibol Adulyadej has now approved the actions taken, and curfews have been relaxed. Security is now much improved in Bangkok. We now look forward, even more strongly, to a successful IMC10.

We on the IMC10 Organizing Committee are closely monitoring the political situation in Thailand and Bangkok and will report any developments that might impact IMC10. As of now, we look forward to seeing you in Bangkok in August 2014!

Star-like fungus from Thailand named in honour of princess

A new species of Astraeus, discovered in the remote Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary in Chaiyaphum Province of Thailand, has been recognized on morphological and molecular grounds. It produces basidiomes in the rainy season, in gorups partially buried in ultisols in dry deciduous forests associated with Dipterocarpus tuberculatus, Shorea obtusa, and S. siamensis. Four sequences were obtained, and the new fungus formed a sister group to A. hygrometricus, a species known from Europe and North America. The new species has been named Astraeus sirindhorniae in honour of Her Majesty Princess Sirindhorn on the occasion of the 84th birthday of her father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Royal family in Thailand, and the princess and king in particular, have both actively supported the preservation and study of the rich natural heritage of Thailand, and it is especially appropriate that this name has been introduced in the year in which Thailand hosts IMC10.

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Astraeus sirindhorniae. Photo courtesy Cherdecai Phosri.

Generic names for possible proposal for protection

Subsequent to discussions at the CBS Spring Symposium in Amsterdam in April 2013, a without-prejudice list of 6,995 generic names of fungi which might be considered for protection against unlisted names was drawn up by a group of specialists in different fungal groups (Kirk et al. 2013). This has been available for correction and comment since December 2013, during which time inputs have been received from many mycologists and working groups. The published list did not include bibliographic and type species citations, but these were provided in the version available on the web (https://doi.org/www.generaoffungi.org), where subsets by order were also provided for convenience. The original list only considered names published before 1 January 2000, but several mycologists suggested that 1 January 2013 would be more appropriate.

A draft list, taking into account all comments received, is now being made available on the above website. This will provide the basis for discussions during the nomenclature sessions at IMC10 in August. All mycologists are therefore encouraged to study the draft, which replaces the without-prejudice list of 2013, and inform me of any errors or omissions they note. It would be particularly appreciated if that could be done before IMC10.

This is an important initiative which has the potential to provide a more stable basis for the nomenclature of fungi at the generic level, as the names that might be considered for protection would be safeguarded against the approximately 11,000 unlisted but validly published names in the literature.

Dicty world race 2014

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The winning Dicty strain in the maze vizualized with a flourscent dye. Photo courtesy Daniel Irimia.

The first ever cell race took place between two model systems used to study the behaviour of neutrophil (white blood cells) in humans. On 16 May 2014 in the Massachusettes General Hospital (Boston, MA), cells from various strains of the slime-mould Dictyostelium discoideum (‘Dicty’) and cell-line HL60 cells supplied from 20 different laboratories around the world competed for the title of “fastest & smartest” and a prize of US$ 5,000. The race was organized by Daniel Irimia, a much-cited tumor researcher who also holds a position in the Harvard Medical School.

Neutrophils are often perturbed during disease and today we have no drugs to correct their migration when that happens, and research in this area has the ultimate goal of correcting the slower and disoriented neutrophils from patients with various diseases and injuries. However, human neutrophils are very difficult to study using traditional molecular biology tools. It is much easier to study one of the two model systems. It has been found that Dicty cells shine in precision but lag in speed, whereas HL60s are good sprinters but lag in precision. Enabled by specially designed microfluidic maze devices, with a gradient of an attractant, precise measurements of speed and orientation are now possible through an almost 1 mm long course. Speeds of 10–20 µm/min can be achieved, which is reported to equate to around 153 yr per mile.

The winner was a genetically tweaked Dicty strain submitted by the laboratory of Arjan Kortholt and Peter van Haastert from the University of Groningen, TheNetherlands, and trained by Ineke Keizer-Gunnink and Rama Kataria. In their strain, 60 % of the cells reached the finish, compared with just under 20 % for the runner-up HL60 cell line; the next four places, however, were all taken by Dicty strains from different labs.

The race in action can be viewed on https://doi.org/sites.google.com/site/dictyworldrace2014/home.

Census of microbial (including fungal) taxonomists in Europe

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A census of European taxonomists concerned with microbial groups (including fungi) is being undertaken as a part of the EU-funded European Microbial Resource Research Infrastructure project (MIRRI; https://doi.org/www.mirri.org/home.html). This project is designed to consolidate the pertinent expertise in identification and maintenance, especially that at the various Biological Resource Centres in Europe. Lists of taxonomists are being developed, and those identified in the project are currently (June) being asked to confirm their entries.

This study aims to contribute to a fresh and realistic assessment of the taxonomic resources for fungi available in Europe, so it is important that all active fungal taxonomists are included. Fungal taxonomists based in Europe are encouraged to examine the lists, see if they are included, and add, delete, or amend their entries as appropriate.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 312251.

For further information contact Ramon Rosselló-Móra (ramon@imedea.uib.csic.es) who is the person actively involved in compiling and checking the lists.

Komarov Botanical Institute 300th anniversary

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The Komarov Botanical Institute (Russian Academy of Sciences), the oldest scientific institution in Russia, was founded in 1714 by order of Tzar Peter the Great, initially as an apothecary (physic) garden. The herbarium and library were established later, in 1823. The fungal material was separated out from the general collections in 1898, and now comprises over 250,000 specimens. It has been a centre of excellence for research on the systematics of fungi (including lichens) and home to a succession of mycologists, perhaps most notably the symbiologist and lichenologist Alexander A. Elenkin (1873–1942) and rust specialist Vladimir A.Tranzschel (1868–1942).

The 300th anniversary is being celebrated by a series of events, involving talks on the history and achievements of the Institute and visits, from 27–28 June 2014. Further information may be found at https://doi.org/www.binran.ru/en/300-years/.

The IMA sends its good wishes to the Institute on this historic occasion.

References

  1. Phosri C, Watling R, Suwannasai N, Wilson A, Martín MP (2014) A new representative of star-shaped fungi: Astraeus sirindhorniae sp. nov. from Thailand. PLoS ONE 9(5): e71160. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0071160

  2. Kirk PM, Stalpers JA, Braun U, Crous PW, Hansen K, Hawksworth DL, Hyde KD, Lücking R, Lumbsch TH, Rossman AY, Seifert KA, Stadler M (2013) A without-prejudice list of generic names of fungi for protection under the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants. IMA Fungus 4: 381–443.

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Luangsa-ard, J.J.D., Kirk, P.M. News. IMA Fungus 5, A3–A5 (2014) doi:10.1007/BF03449334

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