Evolution of Aspergillus oryzae before and after domestication inferred by large-scale comparative genomic analysis

DNA Res. 2019 Dec 1;26(6):465-472. doi: 10.1093/dnares/dsz024.


Aspergillus oryzae is an industrially useful species, of which various strains have been identified; however, their genetic relationships remain unclear. A. oryzae was previously thought to be asexual and unable to undergo crossbreeding. However, recent studies revealed the sexual reproduction of Aspergillus flavus, a species closely related to A. oryzae. To investigate potential sexual reproduction in A. oryzae and evolutionary history among A. oryzae and A. flavus strains, we assembled 82 draft genomes of A. oryzae strains used practically. The phylogenetic tree of concatenated genes confirmed that A. oryzae was monophyletic and nested in one of the clades of A. flavus but formed several clades with different genomic structures. Our results suggest that A. oryzae strains have undergone multiple inter-genomic recombination events between A. oryzae ancestors, although sexual recombination among domesticated species did not appear to have occurred during the domestication process, at least in the past few decades. Through inter- and intra-cladal comparative analysis, we found that evolutionary pressure induced by the domestication of A. oryzae appears to selectively cause non-synonymous and gap mutations in genes involved in fermentation characteristics, as well as intra-genomic rearrangements, with the conservation of industrially useful catalytic enzyme-encoding genes.

Keywords: Aspergillus flavus; Aspergillus oryzae; comparative genomics; domestication.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics*
  • Aspergillus flavus / genetics
  • Aspergillus flavus / metabolism
  • Aspergillus oryzae / classification
  • Aspergillus oryzae / genetics*
  • Aspergillus oryzae / metabolism
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Fermentation / genetics
  • Genome, Fungal / genetics*
  • Genomics / methods*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods
  • Industrial Microbiology / methods
  • Mutation
  • Phylogeny
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Species Specificity