With the advent of new molecular genetics techniques, the field of mycology--the study of fungi--has changed dramatically in the past two decades, its scope advancing rapidly. Until the 1970s, mycology was essentially an observational science. A mycologist was trained in traditional taxonomic techniques: making gross and microscopic observation of specimens, comparing them with samples in museum and research collections and illustrations in books, and classifying them by morphological characteristics.

Although the field traditionally has branched into the study of fungi species that cause disease, mycologists say their field now encompasses molecular biology, ecology, chemical-extraction techniques, and other specialties and skills not usual for the traditional mycologist. The research emanating from laboratories studying fungi is diverse, including investigations of biological control of pest plants, production of new strains of edible mushrooms, and degradation of toxic materials, as well as the search for cures for cancer and AIDS.

Fields Of Interest The...

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