Concluding Remarks

Although some see the twenty-first century as the age of model organisms, some see every species as a source of new knowledge and advocate study of fungi representing different phylogenetic groups and different ecological situations to understand the diverse ways different organisms have solved the problems of existence (Perkins, 1991). Though deceptively simple with mycelium hidden in substratum, at the molecular level the degree of variability in fungi is similar to that displayed by highly complex organisms such as man, mice or flies. Although the numbers of asexually produced spores far exceeds those produced by sexual reproduction, the fungal populations are predominantly sexual. The study of intraspecies diversity provides insights into the role of production of sexual and asexual spores, the mode of spread and survival of fungal pathogens, mechanisms in generation and maintenance of variation and the adaptive mechanisms in fungi. It has led to recognition of mitochondrial plasmids, transposons and the discovery of senescing strains. Molecular markers allow the determination of phylogenetic relationships among individuals within and between subpopulations and charting the course of the evolution of species, the understanding of biochemical design and adaptation to particular habitats. With the advent of recombinant DNA methodology, a new era in biotechnology has begun but new products and processes still result from the traditional approach of isolation and exploitation of variants in populations.

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