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British mycology: a historical perspective and genetic analysis of Boletus edulis Bull.



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Smith, Nathan 


The thesis presented is organised into two sections. The first is a scientific account of the population genetics of Boletus edulis Bull. and the second utilises the methods of history to explore the impact of legacy on British mycology. In this section, which represents the first year of my postgraduate study, I developed an array of six microsatellite markers. These were used to assess population structure of Boletus edulis Bull. on a continental, national, and regional level, with the finding that, in contrast to previous studies, detectable population structure exists within the species in Europe. The markers were then used to explore population differences in heterozygosity and to examine whether heterozygosity-fitness correlations were present in populations, a first for ectomycorrhizal fungi. Some HFCs were detectable but were not consistent across populations studied.

The second section of the thesis uses the methodological tools of the history of science to explore the origins of British mycology, presenting the first comprehensive critical study of the discipline. It examines the origins of British mycology in in popular microscopy. Focusing on the Yorkshire “Grand Period”, it explores questions of mycological identity and legacy and how these led to conflicts between different two different mycological groups: the Yorkshire Mycological Committee and the British Mycological Society. In closing, it seeks to draw comparisons between the state of mycology at the turn of the twentieth century and the state of mycology today.





Amos, William
Curry, Helen Anne


mycology, history of science, population genetics


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (1804850)