Unearthing the truffle genome
The ‘black diamond’, the ‘mysterious product of the earth’, the ‘ultimate fungus’, ‘la grande mystique’ are some of the common names describing the delectable Périgord black truffle (Tuber melanosporum Vitt.). Truffle cultivation is notoriously difficult, in part because of its cryptic life cycle as an underground symbiont, in which the fungus trades nutrients with oak-tree roots. Decreasing supply and rising market prices have provided a strong incentive for research on truffle cultivation. This includes a better understanding of the fungus life cycle and the ecology of truffle grounds.