The future of fungi: threats and opportunities

Nicola T. Case, Judith Berman, David S. Blehert, Robert A. Cramer, Christina Cuomo, Cameron R. Currie, Iuliana V. Ene, Matthew C. Fisher, Lillian K. Fritz-Laylin, Aleeza C. Gerstein, N. Louise Glass, Neil A.R. Gow, Sarah J. Gurr, Chris Todd Hittinger, Tobias M. Hohl, Iliyan D. Iliev, Timothy Y. James, Hailing Jin, Bruce S. Klein, James W. KronstadJeffrey M. Lorch, Victoria McGovern, Aaron P. Mitchell, Julia A. Segre, Rebecca S. Shapiro, Donald C. Sheppard, Anita Sil, Jason E. Stajich, Eva E. Stukenbrock, John W. Taylor, Dawn Thompson, Gerard D. Wright, Joseph Heitman, Leah E. Cowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fungal kingdom represents an extraordinary diversity of organisms with profound impacts across animal, plant, and ecosystem health. Fungi simultaneously support life, by forming beneficial symbioses with plants and producing life-saving medicines, and bring death, by causing devastating diseases in humans, plants, and animals. With climate change, increased antimicrobial resistance, global trade, environmental degradation, and novel viruses altering the impact of fungi on health and disease, developing new approaches is now more crucial than ever to combat the threats posed by fungi and to harness their extraordinary potential for applications in human health, food supply, and environmental remediation. To address this aim, the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund convened a workshop to unite leading experts on fungal biology from academia and industry to strategize innovative solutions to global challenges and fungal threats. This report provides recommendations to accelerate fungal research and highlights the major research advances and ideas discussed at the meeting pertaining to 5 major topics: (1) Connections between fungi and climate change and ways to avert climate catastrophe; (2) Fungal threats to humans and ways to mitigate them; (3) Fungal threats to agriculture and food security and approaches to ensure a robust global food supply; (4) Fungal threats to animals and approaches to avoid species collapse and extinction; and (5) Opportunities presented by the fungal kingdom, including novel medicines and enzymes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjkac224
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • ecosystem health
  • fungal pathogens
  • medical mycology
  • plant-pathogenic fungi
  • sustainability
  • wildlife pathogens

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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