Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2007
Publication Date: 4/14/2010
Citation: Yu, J., Nierman, W.C., Bennett, J.W., Cleveland, T.E., Bhatnagar, D., Campbell, B.C., Dean, R.A., Payne, G.A. 2010. Genetics and Genomics of Aspergillus flavus. In: Rai, M.K., Kovics, C., Editors. Progress in Mycology. Scientific Publishers (India). p.51-73. Interpretive Summary: Aflatoxins are natural secondary metabolites produced by the fungal molds, Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus. Contamination of agricultural commodities by aflatoxins poses serious health hazard to animals and human beings. Due to health and food safety concern, the mechanism of aflatoxin formation and prevention of aflatoxin contamination have been investigated in great detail. Aspergillus flavus genetics and genomics are the basics for understanding the mechanism of aflatoxin production. In this book chapter, we reported the current progress of the genetics and genomics. The consolidated information will help in devising strategies to reduce or eliminate aflatoxin contamination of food and feed.
Technical Abstract: Aflatoxin contamination of agricultural commodities is not only a serious food safety concern, but has significant economic implications for the agriculture industry worldwide. Investigations have been made to the occurrence, biosynthesis, and toxicity of aflatoxins. Genetic studies related to its ability to produce aflatoxins have been the main objectives for decades. Traditional genetic studies have been limited to the linkage groups of genetic factors that attribute to aflatoxin formation. The molecular age of the last decade empowers researchers to clone the specific genes that are directly involved in aflatoxin biosynthesis. While in recent years, technological breakthrough on sequencing capability made it possible to study the whole genome by tools of genomics. Significant progress has been made in deciphering the aflatoxin biosynthetic pathway, genes involved in aflatoxin biosynthesis, and the A. flavus genome structure. In this chapter, we summarize the current progress of studies on genetics and genomics in A. flavus.