Submitted to: Society of Industrial Microbiology Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 7, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Fungi have become focal organisms in searches for microbial producers of new pharmaceuticals and other novel biochemicals. It is estimated that fewer than five percent of the world's fungal species have been described, thus providing a strong incentive for expanded isolation and testing of fungi for unique metabolic properties. Central to the search for new species in culture collections, as well as in nature, is the application of species-diagnostic molecular techniques. These methods show that many strains maintained in culture collections are misidentified and that a surprisingly high proportion represent new species. Application of molecular methods will be discussed using yeasts as an example. Gene sequences compared must provide several levels of genetic resolution. Of primary concern is detection of individual species. Following this, broader relationships must be determined for predictions of metabolic capabilities. Examples of the phylogenetic resolution expected from different gene sequences will be discussed.