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Modules Open College - e-Learning Content Library
Life Cycle of Fungi

This interactive model illustrates the life cycles of various groups of higher fungi. Initiate the animation by pressing "Run" button. Press "Stop" to suspend the animation, and press "Reset" in order to return it to its initial state. You can alternate between different groups of fungi by using special control buttons.

The sex organs of the zygomycetes - zygosporangia - are located on the hypha. After fertilization, a new spore-growing organism comes into being. The spores fall on the ground and give rise to a new generation of fungi. Thus, asexual and sexual reproductions in fungi come in turns.

The spores of another group of fungi, known as the ascomycetes (morels, for example) develop in special bags (asci) that are located on the side of the fungus' spore fruit (ascocarp) that faces the ground. Having fallen on the ground, the spores grow to become hypha. Sexual organs are formed on the hypha. The male sex organ is known as the antheridium and the female sex organ is known as the askogonium. The sperm cell from the antheridium enters the askogonium through a connecting pipe, called trichogyne. A new fungus with an ascocarp of its own grows from the fertilized female sex cell.

In basidiomycetes, spores grow in gymenial plates, also known as basidial gills that are located on the side of the basidocarp's cap that faces the ground. As the grown spores fall out, they are picked up by the aerial currents and are carried to locations where they become hyphas. In most basidiomycetes, cells of one or several hypha blend together and new spore fruits grow on the diploid mycelium.

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