Lutzoni et al. Publish on Evolution of Plants and Fungi
Francois Lutzoni, together with Jolanta Miadlikowska, David Swofford, and colleagues at other institutions, has published an important paper on the interconnections of fungi and plants in evolutionary history. (Lutzoni et al. 2018. Contemporaneous radiations of fungi and plants linked to symbiosis. Nature Communications 9:5451.) Lutzoni's study brought together 14 researchers with varying expertise to infer the global phylogenies and dates of major evolutionary events for the two kingdoms – plants and fungi. Analysis of divergence and diversification produced results bearing on the fungal colonization of land, establishment of the first inland forests, and the origin of ectomycorrhizal fungi. Events in the evolution of fungi created paths for the evolution of seed plants, and the plants in turn provided opportunities for fungi to develop new capacities.
This global approach demonstrates that the macroevolution of plants and fungi must be seen as a whole; the same is likely true for the evolution of animals and microorganisms. Congratulations to Francois and his colleagues for expanding the horizons of evolutionary science!