Edible, poisonous or ecologically vital-DNA sequence database to characterize BC fungi important for human and environmental health
Partner: Dr. Thomas Kosatsky, BC Centre for Disease Control
Partner Organization(s): BC Centre for Disease Control Environmental Health Services; Vancouver Mycological Society; North America Mycological Association; South Vancouver Island Mycological Society; Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center; Department of Botany, UBC; BC Cancer Agency Genome Sciences Centre
Mushrooms in BC have been responsible for 96 cases of symptomatic poisoning over the last two years. Even more common have been hospital visits after someone, often a young child, accidentally ate a mushroom. Meanwhile, edibles such as pine mushrooms are valuable BC non-timber forest products. Foraging for wild foods including mushrooms is increasingly popular. In spite of their importance, at least half of the species of BC mushrooms are still unknown to science, or are so poorly characterized that reliable identification is impossible. In this project, we will develop a barcode DNA sequence identification database, to systematically 'tag' mushroom specimens, prioritizing toxic or edible species. The proposed database of mushrooms will help food protection programs in creating guidelines for edible wild mushroom harvest and sales, while improving the accuracy of identifications and efficacy of treatment when toxic mushrooms are involved in poisoning.