About this Research Topic
Fungi pose a major challenge to human health and their impact is dynamic, with the emergence of new species, expanded geographic ranges impacting new human populations, and the increasing frequency of antifungal resistance. Genomic approaches can be leveraged to characterize new species or lineages and trace the origin and spread of outbreaks, while rapidly addressing these new threats. Genomic data can also guide the improvement or development of diagnostic approaches to detect new species and genetic elements conferring drug resistance.
New species or genotypes of fungi are increasingly reported. Candida auris, originally described in 2009, has rapidly emerged at a global scale. Thermally-dimorphic fungal pathogens (recognized as endemic in specific areas) are increasingly being reported in expanded geographic regions. For instance, the recently-described eponymous genus Emergomyces encompasses many recently-reported species causing human disease. Tracking molecular types and cryptic species within the pathogenic Cryptococcus species complexes has clarified the origin of outbreak strains. Genome sequencing of these various fungal species has described the global relationship and likely transmission events in isolates from outbreaks and, in defining gene content for these rarely-studied species, has predicted metabolic capacity and environmental growth niches or animal reservoirs.
Resistance to antifungal drugs is increasing at a global scale, including in the commonly observed species, Candida albicans, Candida glabrata and Candida parapsilosis. Furthermore, in Aspergillus fumigatus, resistance is common in agricultural-intensive regions that use antifungals for crop protection. Isolates have also been reported to be multi-drug resistant, including isolates of Candida auris resistant to all three classes of antifungals. Genomic approaches have been used to profile the presence of known mutations that confer increased resistance and identify new antifungal candidates through the use of association or microevolution studies.
In this Research Topic, we welcome the submission of Original Research, Review, and Opinion articles that include a focus on emerging human fungal pathogens and incorporate a genomic approach. These can include the description of new or rarely-reported species that are increasing in frequency, or the detection of species or lineages thereof in new geographic areas. Analysis of isolates from clinical, animal or environmental origin may be included as long as the research focus is on the impact on human health.
Keywords: fungi, genome, emerging, pathogen
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