From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Neurospora crassa is a type of red
bread mold of the phylum Ascomycota. The genus name, meaning "nerve
spore" refers to the characteristic striations on the spores.
N. crassa is used as a model organism because it is easy to
grow and has a haploid life cycle that makes genetic analysis simple since
recessive traits will show up in the offspring. Analysis of genetic
recombination is facilitated by the ordered arrangement of the
products of meiosis in Neurospora ascospores. Its entire
genome of seven chromosomes
has been sequenced.
Neurospora was used by Edward Tatum and George
Wells Beadle in their experiments for which they won the Nobel Prize in
Physiology or Medicine in 1958. Beadle and Tatum exposed N.
crassa to x-rays, causing mutations. They then
observed failures in metabolic pathways caused by errors
in specific enzymes. This led
them to propose the "one gene, one enzyme" hypothesis that specific
genes code for specific proteins. Their hypothesis was
later elaborated to enzyme pathways by Norman Horowitz, also
working in Neurospora.
In the 24 April 2003 issue of Nature, the genome of N. crassa was reported as
The genome is about 43 megabases long and includes approximately
10,000 genes. There is a project underway to produce strains
containing knockout mutants of every N.
In its natural environment, N. crassa lives mainly in
tropical and sub-tropical regions. It can be found growing on dead
plant matter after fires.
Neurospora is actively used in research around the world. It is
important in the elucidation of molecular events involved in circadian rhythms, epigenetics and gene silencing, cell polarity, cell fusion,
development, as well as many aspects of cell biology and
Strains and other materials for working with Neurospora are
available from the Fungal Genetics Stock
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