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The Fungal Kingdom

Editors: Joseph Heitman1, Barbara J. Howlett2, Pedro W. Crous3, Eva H. Stukenbrock4, Timothy Y. James5, Neil A. R. Gow6
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Affiliations: 1: Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina; 2: School of Biosciences, The University of Melbourne, Victoria, NSW, Australia; 3: CBS-KNAW Fungal Diversity Centre, Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, Utrecht, The Netherlands; 4: Environmental Genomics, Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Kiel, Germany, and Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany; 5: Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; 6: School of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Fosterhill, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Content Type: Monograph
Format: Electronic
Publication Year: 2017

Category: Microbial Genetics and Molecular Biology; Environmental Microbiology

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Fungi research and knowledge grew rapidly following recent advances in genetics and genomics. This book synthesizes new knowledge with existing information to stimulate new scientific questions and propel fungal scientists on to the next stages of research. This book is a comprehensive guide on fungi, environmental sensing, genetics, genomics, interactions with microbes, plants, insects, and humans, technological applications, and natural product development.

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Book News Review

11 October 2018

This large format volume, weighing a hefty 2.8 kg, has taken about four years to prepare. It represents an enormous undertaking, which has involved over 170 mycologists and other researchers. A nine-section structure was worked out by the team of six editors, who stated that it was their “hope, and our goal and intention, that this book both takes stock of the current state of knowledge in the field and also spurs further investigation” (p. xxi). By mid-2015 the scope of each of the 54 chapters had been sketched out and contributors’ names that had tentatively been pencilled-in started to be invited. In order to make the task manageable, the sections were assigned to particular editors, each of whom had the responsibility of securing the delivery of contributions and having them reviewed and revised. Chapters necessarily proceeded at different rates, but when they had been completed, they were published online in final form (apart from pagination) on the American Society for Microbiology’s Microbiology Spectrum site so that they could start to be used and cited from that source. As anyone who has ever edited a multi-authored volume will know, such works inevitably proceed to completion at the rate of the slowest. It was only after that point was reached in 2017 that the book could finally be put together, paginated, indexed, bound and published.

The nine sections decided upon were: (1) Fungal branches on the eukaryotic tree of life (5 chapters); (2) Life of fungi (10); (3) Fungal ecology (3); (4) How fungi sense their environment (7); (5) Fungal genetics and genomics as models for biology (8); (6) Fungal interactions with plants: impact on agriculture and the biosphere (5); (7) Fungi and the human host (6); (8) Fungal interactions with animals (fungi, insects, and nematodes) and other microbes (6); and (9) Fungal technology and natural products (4).

It would be invidious to highlight particular chapters here, but in general I have found them not to be only dry reviews, but also to contain new syntheses and insights into many of them; a consequence of the editors having gone to great efforts to secure the world leaders in the assigned topics where possible. Indeed, the list of contributors reads rather like a Who’s Who of mycology.

The whole is well-presented with numerous figures, many of which are in colour, and all chapters have extensive reference lists. The price is far from unreasonable for such a massive hard-bound work, and as this is a real vade mecum for mycology all mycological libraries should acquire a copy, and I am sure most mycologists will also aspire to own one. The editors are to be congratulated on this truly momentous achievement.

Bruce McDonald, Plant Pathology

16 July 2018

A fabulous book that presents a broad overview of our current knowledge of the fungi, with individual chapters written by leading scientists and assembled by an editorial panel of distinguished mycologists. A wonderful resource for anyone interested in the fungal kingdom.

--Bruce McDonald, Plant Pathology, Institute of Integrative Biology, Zurich

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