Fungi are crucial components of modern ecosystems. They may have had an important role in the colonization of land by eukaryotes, and in the appearance and success of land plants and metazoans1-3. Nevertheless, fossils that can unambiguously be identified as fungi are absent from the fossil record until the middle of the Palaeozoic era4,5. Here we show, using morphological, ultrastructural and spectroscopic analyses, that multicellular organic-walled microfossils preserved in shale of the Grassy Bay Formation (Shaler Supergroup, Arctic Canada), which dates to approximately 1,010-890 million years ago, have a fungal affinity. These microfossils are more than half a billion years older than previously reported unambiguous occurrences of fungi, a date which is consistent with data from molecular clocks for the emergence of this clade6,7. In extending the fossil record of the fungi, this finding also pushes back the minimum date for the appearance of eukaryotic crown group Opisthokonta, which comprises metazoans, fungi and their protist relatives8,9.
Cyanobacteria form one of the most diversified phyla of Bacteria. They are important ecologically as primary producers, for Earth evolution and biotechnological applications. Yet, Cyanobacteria are notably difficult to purify and grow axenically, and most strains in culture collections contain heterotrophic bacteria that were probably associated with Cyanobacteria in the environment. Obtaining cyanobacterial DNA without contaminant sequences is thus a challenging and time-consuming task. Here, we describe a metagenomic pipeline that enables the easy recovery of genomes from non-axenic cultures. We tested this pipeline on 17 cyanobacterial cultures from the BCCM/ULC public collection and generated novel genome sequences for 12 polar or subpolar strains and three temperate ones, including three early-branching organisms that will be useful for phylogenomics. In parallel, we assembled 31 co-cultivated bacteria (12 nearly complete) from the same cultures and showed that they mostly belong to Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria, some of them being very closely related in spite of geographically distant sampling sites.