The most basic aspects of human development and genetic structures can be mapped back to the common single-celled ancestors that animals shared with fungi. How did multicellularity evolve? What are the genes and gene families associated with the advent of multicellularity? How does this compare between two different major clades that underwent this transition (animals and fungi)? The comparison of these organisms to protists will provide the most complete picture of basic developmental mechanisms.
Selected divergent fungal, animal, and protest genomes will be sequenced at high coverage for the purpose of comparative analysis. The organisms selected for sequencing will fill crucial gaps in the knowledge of animal and fungal evolution. A complete rationale for this initiative is available at Animals and Fungi: Common Origin, But Independent Approaches to Multicellularity .
Adam Felsenfeld, Ph.D.
Jane Peterson, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Division of Extramural Research
Last Reviewed: May 24, 2012