Luckily for us, the economically devastating Karnal bunt fungus needs personal ads and singles bars more than we do.
Airborne spores from the fungus, which damages wheat crops, are limited in how well they can start new infections over long distances, according to the findings from a Kansas State University project.
A phenomenon known as the Allee effect occurs when a small population of a species spread over a large area has little success in reproduction. The reason is that when individuals are dispersed over a wide area, it becomes difficult to find a mate. Like male and female humans, each Karnal bunt spore has something similar to a gender, and must find a spore with a different gender to reproduce. Karnal bunt has a larger spore that can reproduce on its own, but is heavier and less likely to be blown over long distances. It is the bunts lighter, airborne spore that needs a mate.
Karen Garrett | EurekAlert!
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