"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

More than 100 'magic mushroom' genomes point to recent cultivars

Scientists have collected genome data to isolate and cultivate dozens of “magic mushrooms,” with the goal of learning more about how their domestication and cultivation have modified them. The researchers say the findings, published within the journal Dec. 4, could lead on to the production of exciting recent cultivars.

Studies show that industrial varieties of mushrooms lack genetic diversity because they're bred for human consumption. Meanwhile, natural populations of mushrooms in Australia have maintained a high degree of diversity, they show, including unique gene variants that control the production of psilocybin, the mushroom's lively ingredient.

“What was surprising was that some species of magic mushrooms were highly synergistic,” says Alastair McTaggart of the University of Queensland in Australia. “Some of these cultivars have been stripped of almost any diversity except for the genes that control sexual reproduction.”

“Whether this happened intentionally, through targeted inbreeding to fix traits over the last half century, or unintentionally due to a lack of diversity is hard to know,” he says. “The trailblazers who cultivated magic mushrooms set the stage for how we can advance cultivation and innovate with Shroom as we improve our understanding of psilocybin and its benefits. are.”

McTaggart says research on these mushrooms has been driven by an underground community of individuals concerned with magic mushrooms, lots of whom are co-authors of the brand new study. Without financial support for this effort, the vast community of individuals concerned with magic mushrooms collected cultivars and isolates for study, sending samples at their very own expense and risk. Ultimately, the researchers sequenced and picked up DNA data for greater than 100 species of magic mushrooms.

As a part of the study, the team sequenced genomes from 38 Australian isolates and compared them to 86 commercially available strains. They desired to know if the mushrooms had been introduced to Australia and the way domestication had modified those which might be commercially available.

Their evaluation shows that Australian mushrooms are naturalized, having returned to a population size sufficient to take care of genetic diversity after their initial introduction into the country. In comparison, industrial cultivars are severely lacking in diversity of their genomes. The results suggest that some unique gene variants in Australia may allow variation within the synthesis of psilocybin and related compounds.

McTaggart says that the info they've generated on the mating compatibility and variety of the genes that control psilocybin production will “advance breeding for designer strains, in which heterozygosity of psilocybin alleles is psychedelic.” can open up a wide range of tryptamines in production,” says McTaggart. In fact, he reports, his startup company, FunkyFungus, has already begun to translate the outcomes of developing designer cultivars.

McTaggart says the event has implications for psilocybin's use as a natural compound, with potential advantages for treating mental health disorders.

“Magic mushrooms are the cheapest source of psilocybin and can fill a niche in natural medicine development,” he said. “There is still much more to understand about how magic mushrooms produce other compounds that may influence the psilocybin experience, and this will be an exciting area of ​​research to uncover. “

The researchers were supported by University of Queensland RSP Fellowships. Alastair McTaggart and co-author Chris Appleyard own Funky Fungi, an organization that grows magic mushrooms to supply the medicinal psilocybin.