Japanese researchers fully sequence matsutake mushroom genome

Japanese researchers say they have fully sequenced the genome of the endangered matsutake mushroom.

A group led by Shirasawa Kenta of Kazusa DNA Research Institute in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, reported the achievement to an international science magazine on DNA research.

The researchers say they used a new technology to analyze a long sequence to learn the matsutake's genetic information.

They say they've found that the mushroom has 13 chromosomes and about 160 million base pairs, as well as about 22,000 genes, which determine its shape, taste and scent.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature has placed the matsutake on its list of endangered species. It is a prized foodstuff in Japan.

The researchers say the genome data will help identify substances needed for the mushroom's growth and the genes that produce its specific taste and aroma.

Shirasawa said it is the first time a full genome of any mushroom has been reported. He said the team's findings will help in the cultivation of matsutake in the future.