Just for clarification: when I say "designing", I mean just coming up with the idea of this fungus, as opposed to it being "designed" by humans.
I've been very interested in fungi ever since finding out about the cordyceps fungus on The Last of Us and The Girl with all the Gifts. The idea that a naturally-occurring plant can essentially mind-control insects is fascinating and horrifying in equal measure.
So I was wondering - what would be the features of a cordyceps-like fungus that would allow for it to actually be symbiotic with humans, i.e. what would its biological mechanics/features be like? It would have to have the following features:
- Releases spores, just like the cordyceps fungi
- The spores have an extremely high mortality rate - kills 90% of people it comes in contact with at first
- For the others, let's say that they don't kill the people it comes in contact with, but rather creates a mutual symbiotic relationship
- Maybe the spores that the fungus now produces can be more "targeted" - i.e. it can specifically aim to infect more healthy humans to use as a symbiotic "host" as opposed to killing them
- Compels the "infected" to seek out healthy humans - this is their compromise for having this symbiotic relationship with the fungus
How would such a fungus hypothetically work? Obviously nothing like this exists in the real world that we know of (at least not to this level of control over humans).