Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Ed Lickey

Degree Award Date



Fungi, Chanterelle mushrooms, Cantharellus, DNA barcoding, ITS, RPB2, tef1-α, PCR amplification, Virginia




Chanterelle mushrooms, while botanically a part of the genus Cantharellus, is a generic descriptor used to describe many different species of wild chanterelle mushrooms. They are among the most popular wild edible mushrooms worldwide, with Cantharellus cibarius being the most well-known. Efforts to understand chanterelle diversity, however, have been somewhat limited by the standardly used internal transcribed spacer (ITS) fungal DNA barcode; Although considered the universal barcode of Fungi, ITS is discouraged for Cantharellus identification due to high levels of diversity and length variation, particularly in the ITS1 region (Swenie & Matheny, 2023). Alternate genes, including RPB2 and tef1-α were thus compared with ITS as an alternative marker for the analysis of Cantharellus species. Resulting sequences were then used to identify fungal specimens collected from different regions in Western Virginia and one in South Carolina.