John W. Taylor
John W. Taylor
Fungal evolution and genomics
Professor, Plant & Microbial Biology
321 Koshland Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
Phone 510.642.5366
Lab Phone 510.642.8441
Fax 510.642.4995

Ph.D.  Mycology    University of California, Davis, 1978
B.A.   Ecology    University of California, Berkeley, 1972



Evolution of fungi.
Pattern and Process of Fungal Evolution.
We study the pattern and process of fungal evolution. We started by studying the pattern of evolution in terms of species and populations and now have begun to study the process. Our long term goal is to make fungi the best models for evolutionary biology. We focus on the key evolutionary event that forms the tree of life: speciation. Recently we have documented species divergences, compared phylogenetic and biological methods of species recognition, addressed the timing of species divergence, and evaluated selection acting on potentially adaptive genes. Now, we are using genetics and genomics to find genes that maintain species and facilitate adaptation.

Figure 1. Bayesian phylogeny made from exon sequence from Neurospora crassa isolates showing two, genetically differentiated populations in what had been thought to be one population. Comparison of the genomes of the Louisiana and Caribbean (dotted line) populations revealed the "islands of differentiation" seen in Figure 2. (Ellison et al. 2011. PNAS 107:2831-2836).

Figure 2. Island of differentiation. (A. chromosome 3, B chromosome 7) uncovered by genome scans of Neurospora crassa individuals from the Louisiana (LA) and Caribbean (Carib) populations. Genes in these islands are candidates for those important to adaptation. The mean annual low temperature in Louisiana is 10 degrees C lower in than the Caribbean and,using growth as a measure of fitness, Louisiana individuals were more fit than Caribbean individuals at low temperature.  A Louisiana strain with a gene deletion for PAC 10 (prefoldin) or for MRH4 (RNA helicase) also showed lower fitness than wild type at low temperature, leaving intact our hypothesis that genes in the islands are important for adaptation to growth at low temperature. (Ellison et al. 2011. PNAS 107:2831-2836).

Recent Publications

Honors and Awards

2010 Elected President, International Mycological Association
2010 Member, Editorial Board of IMAFungus
2009 Member, Editorial board of mBIO
2008 Distinguished Mycologist, Mycological Society of America
2005 Elected Fellow, Mycological Society America
2005 Distinguished Teaching Award, College of Natural Resources, UC, Berkeley
2004 Rhoda Benham Medal, Medical Mycological Society of the Americas.
2003 Lucille K. Georg Medal, International Society for Human and Animal Mycology
2002 President, Mycological Society of America
2000 Elected Fellow of the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science
1999 Miller Research Professor, U.C. Berkeley
1998 Elected fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology
1998 Member of the Executive Committee, International Mycological Association
1996 - Associate editor of Fungal Genetics and Biology (USA)
1993 -98 Member of the editorial board and Assoc. Editor of Mycologia (USA)
1994 William H. Weston Award for Teaching, Mycological Soc. of America
1994 -97 Associate editor of Mycological Research (U.K.)
1993 Elected to the California Academy of Sciences
1993 - Trustee of the Jepson Herbarium
1993 Organizing Committee, Int’l Workshop on Ascomycete Systematics, Paris
1993 - Member, American Society for Microbiology
1991 -94 Mycological Society of America, representative to AAAS
1990 -94 Member, Program Committee, 5th International Mycological Congress, 1994
1990 Chairman, Annual Meeting Program Committee, Mycol. Soc. of America
1989 -93 Member of the editorial board of Mycologia
1988 AAAS Representative to the Australian and New Zealand AAS Centenary 
1988 - Member, British Mycological Society
1987 -88 Visiting Scientist, CSIRO Laboratory of Food Research, North Ryde, Australia
1986 Alexopoulos Prize for Research, Mycological Society of America
1985 -88 Councilor, Mycological Society of America 
1985 - Member, Society for the Study of Evolution
1983 - Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science 
1976 Graduate Fellowship, Mycological Society of America
1974 - Member, Mycological Society of America, Life Member 1999