I think of fungi as having relatively normal eukaryotic cells. The
metazoan-fungal divergence is relatively recent, compared with other
eukaryotes. Of course, eukaryotes have organelles, a nuclear membrane,
have "true" (whole-cell-fusion) sex; so by these and similar criteria
(dolichols, sterol pathway...), fungi also comfortably belong with
eukaryotes". The hyphae cell wall is not that dissimilar to other
polymers, and a tendency to make syncitia is also a widespread
characteristic among eukaryotes. The tendency of fungi toward a
or decay-promoting lifestyle is also widespread.
I think that there are good arguments to unify medical mycology and
parasitology, which were separated in most settings by splits between
biology/zoology and botany departments; they are often in the same
department in France, I think, and clinical microbiology labs usually
mycology and parasitology diagnosis together, since they're both
morphology-based in diagnosis, usually. Although most fungi are
opportunists, dedicated parasites also exist among fungi, even for
e.g., Pneumocystis and Candida and perhaps the Microsporidia (if these
also fungi; there remains dispute about the latter suggestion).
Gerald McLaughlin, Ph.D.
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
635 Barnhill Dr., MS A128
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5113
Ph 317-274-2651; FAX 317-278-0643
e-mail: gmclaugh at iupui.edu