The reproduction

Fungi consist of one division only, the Eumycota, which is divided into four classes: zygomycetes, ascomycetes, basidiomycetes (which includes most edible mushrooms) and deuteromycetes. They are divided by their cellular features and sexual reproduction methods, which occur through the recombination of genetic material. Most fungi reproduce alternately through asexual and sexed methods. Asexual reproduction occurs in two ways:

  • by fragmentation of the hyphae (the filaments that compose the fungus). Every fragment becomes a new individual;
  • by structures known as sporangia. When a sporangium disintegrates, asexual spores are released and carried away by the air. In suitable environmental conditions, they originate new masses of hyphae.

Sexed reproduction begins when two hyphae from different individuals unite into specialised reproductive structures, called gametangia. A cell called zygote from which the new fungus will develop is formed inside these structures. The genetic inheritance from the different hyphae
recombines in the zygote to form a completely new one.

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