Last month, the Xu Lab was featured on the Biology Graduate Student Society’s Website showcasing the highlights of our research in a series of weekly posts. For each week in November, we will be re-posting this content here 🙂
Molecular Ecology and Evolutionary Genetics of Fungi
Though we can’t see them easily, microorganisms are everywhere and play vital roles in
Earth’s biosphere. They represent exclusively two of the three Domains of Life (the Archaea and Bacteria Domains) as well as the vast majority of the phylogenetic diversity in the third Domain of Life (the Eukarya). Our lab is generally interested in the patterns of microbial diversity as well as the mechanisms that generate and maintain the observed patterns. Over the past two decades, we have been using fungi, a group of eukaryotic microbes that includes microscopic yeasts and molds as well as macroscopic mushrooms, as model organisms for our studies. We study microbial populations from the environment, human hosts, clinics, and the laboratory to address issues such as the rates and effects of spontaneous mutations; the effects of climate and geography on the distribution of fungal species and strains, the influence of human activities on the origin and spread of pathogen genotypes; and the genetic bases of fungal virulence, drug resistance, and speciation.