The relative importance of sexual reproduction in the adaptation of fungi to their environment is largely unknown. A recent study  using laboratory strains of Aspergillus nidulans suggests that in the absence of a partner, the rate of selfing (and hence the investment in sexual reproduction) is condition-dependent in this species. We investigated if, in the presence of a partner, the relative investment in outcrossing vs. selfing was also condition-dependent. We used both wild isolates and mutation accumulation lines (derived from a wild isolate) and measured the relative investment in outcrossing, selfing and asexual reproduction, along with growth rate and competitive fitness. Our results showed that outcrossing is the highest when the two partners have similar growth rates. In contrast, selfing was the highest when one strain was growing at a faster rate compared to the other. Our results unravel the complex interactions between resource allocation to different modes of reproduction and fitness in this species.
 S. Schoustra et al. (2010). Curr. Biol., 20, 1350–1355.
Full conference title:
- Asperfest 13 (2016)