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Article

Wild Isolates of Neurospora crassa Reveal Three Conidiophore Architectural Phenotypes

1
Genetics Department, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
2
Institute of Bioinformatics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
3
School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Microorganisms 2020, 8(11), 1760; https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8111760
Received: 30 September 2020 / Revised: 4 November 2020 / Accepted: 6 November 2020 / Published: 9 November 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Filamentous Fungus Neurospora crassa)
The vegetative life cycle in the model filamentous fungus, Neurospora crassa, relies on the development of conidiophores to produce new spores. Environmental, temporal, and genetic components of conidiophore development have been well characterized; however, little is known about their morphological variation. We explored conidiophore architectural variation in a natural population using a wild population collection of 21 strains from Louisiana, United States of America (USA). Our work reveals three novel architectural phenotypes, Wild Type, Bulky, and Wrap, and shows their maintenance throughout the duration of conidiophore development. Furthermore, we present a novel image-classifier using a convolutional neural network specifically developed to assign conidiophore architectural phenotypes in a high-throughput manner. To estimate an inheritance model for this discrete complex trait, crosses between strains of each phenotype were conducted, and conidiophores of subsequent progeny were characterized using the trained classifier. Our model suggests that conidiophore architecture is controlled by at least two genes and has a heritability of 0.23. Additionally, we quantified the number of conidia produced by each conidiophore type and their dispersion distance, suggesting that conidiophore architectural phenotype may impact N. crassa colonization capacity.
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Keywords: Neurospora crassa; natural variation; complex trait; conidiophore development; phenomics; convolutional neural network; generalized linear model; spore shadow Neurospora crassa; natural variation; complex trait; conidiophore development; phenomics; convolutional neural network; generalized linear model; spore shadow
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MDPI and ACS Style

Krach, E.K.; Wu, Y.; Skaro, M.; Mao, L.; Arnold, J. Wild Isolates of Neurospora crassa Reveal Three Conidiophore Architectural Phenotypes. Microorganisms 2020, 8, 1760. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8111760

AMA Style

Krach EK, Wu Y, Skaro M, Mao L, Arnold J. Wild Isolates of Neurospora crassa Reveal Three Conidiophore Architectural Phenotypes. Microorganisms. 2020; 8(11):1760. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8111760

Chicago/Turabian Style

Krach, Emily K., Yue Wu, Michael Skaro, Leidong Mao, and Jonathan Arnold. 2020. "Wild Isolates of Neurospora crassa Reveal Three Conidiophore Architectural Phenotypes" Microorganisms 8, no. 11: 1760. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms8111760

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