Neurospora Genetics


Neurospora crassa is a filamentous fungus of the class Ascomycetes. It is a genetically well‐understood organism used in the original work that defined the relationship between genes and enzymes.

Keywords: Neurospora; tetrad analysis; gene–enzyme relationships; ascomycete; genome organization

Figure 1.

Asexual (inner) and sexual (outer) cycles of N. crassa. The sexual spores, or conidia, function in the asexual cycle as vegetative propagules, and in the sexual cycle as fertilizing agents. All matings require the participation of both mating types, A and a, but either mating type may function as the male or female parent. In the sexual cycle, the diameter of the protoperithecium (bottom) is about one‐fifth or less of the diameter of the mature perithecium (top). The trichogyne shown protruding from the protoperithecium is shown being fertilized by a conidium of the opposite mating type. (Adapted from Davis and de Serres, . Copyright © 1970 Academic Press.)

Figure 2.

The meiotic process in N. crassa, starting with haploid gametic cells AB and ab. The fusion that takes place in the ascus initial (a and b, right) is followed by two meiotic (c and d, right) and a final mitotic (e, right) division. At metaphase of the first division, the two pairs of homologous chromosomes (bivalents) may line up such that A will segregate with B (case 1), or with b (case 2), leading to PD or NPD tetrads, respectively. In case 3, a crossover between gene B/b and the centromere of the long chromosome leads to delayed segregation of the B/b allele pair, such that a tetratype (T) tetrad is formed. Each meiotic product divides once before spore walls form around the eight nuclei in the linear ascus (f, right). (Adapted from Davis and de Serres, . Copyright © 1970 Academic Press.)



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Further Reading

Davis RH (2003) The Microbial Models of Molecular Biology. New York: Oxford University Press.

Davis RH (2004) Genetics of Neurospora. Kuck U (ed.) The Mycota II. Genetics and Biotechnology, 2nd ed., pp. 3–18. Berlin: Springer

Davis RH and Perkins DD (2002) Neurospora: a model of model microbes. Nature Reviews Genetics 3: 7–13.

Horowitz NH (1991) Fifty years ago: the Neurospora revolution. Genetics 127: 631–635.

Perkins DD (1992) Neurospora: the organism behind the molecular revolution. Genetics 130: 687–701.

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Davis, Rowland H(Apr 2006) Neurospora Genetics. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0004236]