Submitted to: Medical Mycology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/21/2006
Publication Date: 6/24/2006
Citation: Payne, G.A., Nierman, W.C., Wortman, J.R., Pritchard, B.L., Brown, D., Dean, R.A., Bhatnagar, D., Cleveland, T.E., Machida, M., Yu, J. 2006. Whole genome comparison of Aspergillus flavus and A. oryzae. Medical Mycology. 44:9-11.
Technical Abstract: Aspergillus flavus is a plant and animal pathogen that also produces the potent carcinogen aflatoxin. Aspergillus oryzae is a closely related species that has been used for centuries in the food fermentation industry and is generally regarded as safe (GRAS). Whole genome sequences for these two fungi are now complete, providing us with the opportunity to examine any genomic differences that may explain the different ecological niches of these two fungi, and perhaps to identify pathogenicity factors in A. flavus. These two fungi are very similar in genome size and number of predicted genes. The estimated genome size (36/8 Mb) and predicted number of genes (12 197) for A. flavus is similar to that of A. oryzae (36/7 Mb and 12 079, respectively). These two fungi have significantly larger genomes than A. nidulans (30/1) and A. fumigatus (29/4). The A. flavus and A. oryzae genomes are enriched in genes for secondary metabolism, but do not differ greatly from one another in the predicted number of polyketide synthases, nonribosomal peptide synthases or the number of genes coding for cytochrome P450 enzymes. A micro-scale analysis of the two fungi did show differences in DNA correspondence between the two species and in the number of transposable elements. Each species has approximately 350 unique genes. The high degree of sequence similarity between the two fungi suggests that they may be ecotypes of the same species and that A. oryzae has resulted from the domestication of A. flavus.