A fascinating example of biological interactions counteracting one another, converting a blight into a boon: A fungus that normally dissolves plants from the inside turns docile when infected by a mycovirus carried by mushroom flies. It may even be used to promote play growth.

I'm curious about how these relationships evolved. Fungi are prone to symbiosis with species other families, like algae. A virus that neutralizes the deleterious effects of a fungus for some third party could suggest an evolved three-part symbiosis, with benefit accruing to all three, only if all three are present. Is it possible that it was previously a two-part, fungus–plant relationship, but that the fungus outsourced one of its functions to a virus that was common in its originating niche?

Show thread
Sign in to participate in the conversation

Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.