Ustilago maydis Mechanisms in Sexual Reproduction

Sexual reproduction in fungi involves the detection of potential mating partners among multiple mating partners present in the environment, coordination of choices by making contact, commitment to a particular mating partner by adhesion, fusion of compatible cells followed by the fusion of gametic nuclei (karyogamy) and the meiotic division of the diploid nucleus to produce haploid progeny in the form of spores. Where the fusing nuclei differ genetically, the haploid progeny have new combinations of genes arising from the assortment of homologous chromosomes and intrachromosomal recombination due to crossing-over. Since the sexually produced spores are often resistant propagules, sexual reproduction could be important for the survival of species in nature where environmental conditions fluctuate.

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