The Fungus Among Us

Hold that fork! The mushroom in your salad could be a (very) distant relative

They don't look like you or me, and there is something vegetable-like about their life-style, but toadstools, molds and yeast may be far more closely related to humans than to plants. That's the conclusion of a report in Science magazine comparing fungi to a variety of organisms, from protozoans to frogs. Rather than studying how the organisms live or reproduce, the researchers relied on genetic analysis. Examining one gene as it mutated across 22 species, they found evidence that humans and fungi, despite obvious differences, have a single ancestor: a one-celled creature that branched away from the plant kingdom a billion...

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