Aspergillus; culture collection; fungal genetics; genomics; Neurospora
The Fungal Genetics Stock Center (FGSC) was established in 1960 to ensure that important strains used in early genetics research were available to subsequent generations of fungal geneticists. Originally, only mutant strains were held. At present, any organism that has had its genome sequenced is a genetic system and so the FGSC has added many new organisms. The FGSC is well integrated in its core community and, as research came to depend on cloned genes, vectors and gene libraries, the FGSC included these materials. When the community expanded to include plant and human pathogens, the FGSC adopted these systems as well. Wild isolates from around the world have also proven instrumental in answering important questions. The FGSC holds tremendous diversity of the Neurospora species, which form the core of the collection. The growth in the number of strains distributed illustrates the growth in research on fungi. Because of its position near the centre of the fungal genetics effort, the FGSC is also the first to see trends in research directions. One recent example is the 300% jump in requests for strains of Neurospora crassa carrying a mutation that makes them sensitive to high salt concentration. These strains were seldom requested over many years, but became among our most popular resources following the demonstration of their utility in studying fungicide resistance. This exemplifies why materials need to be preserved without regard to their immediate perceived value and reinforces the need for long-term support for preservation of a broad variety of genetic resources.