Comparative Genomics of Pathogenic and Nonpathogenic Beetle-Vectored Fungi in the Genus Geosmithia.

Academic Article


  • Geosmithia morbida is an emerging fungal pathogen which serves as a model for examining the evolutionary processes behind pathogenicity because it is one of two known pathogens within a genus of mostly saprophytic, beetle-associated, fungi. This pathogen causes thousand cankers disease in black walnut trees and is vectored into the host via the walnut twig beetle. Geosmithia morbida was first detected in western United States and currently threatens the timber industry concentrated in eastern United States. We sequenced the genomes of G. morbida in a previous study and two nonpathogenic Geosmithia species in this work and compared these species to other fungal pathogens and nonpathogens to identify genes under positive selection in G. morbida that may be associated with pathogenicity. Geosmithia morbida possesses one of the smallest genomes among the fungal species observed in this study, and one of the smallest fungal pathogen genomes to date. The enzymatic profile in this pathogen is very similar to its nonpathogenic relatives. Our findings indicate that genome reduction or retention of a smaller genome may be an important adaptative force during the evolution of a specialized lifestyle in fungal species that occupy a specificniche, such as beetle vectored tree pathogens. We also present potential genes under selection in G. morbida that could be important for adaptation to a pathogenic lifestyle.
  • Authors

  • Schuelke, Taruna A
  • Wu, Guangxi
  • Westbrook, Anthony
  • Woeste, Keith
  • Plachetzki, David
  • Broders, Kirk
  • MacManes, Matthew
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • December 1, 2017
  • Published In


  • Animals
  • Coleoptera
  • Genome, Fungal
  • Genomics
  • Geosmithia morbida
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Hypocreales
  • Insect Proteins
  • Juglans
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Diseases
  • Reference Standards
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • pathogenicity
  • thousand cankers disease
  • tree pathogen
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 3312
  • End Page

  • 3327
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 12