Phytophthora cinnamomi isolates collected from 1977 to 1986 and 1991 to 1993 in two regions in South Africa were analyzed using isozymes. A total of 135 isolates was analyzed for 14 enzymes representing 20 putative loci, of which four were polymorphic. This led to the identification of nine different multilocus isozyme genotypes. Both mating types of P. cinnamomi occurred commonly in the Cape region, whereas, predominantly, the A2 mating type occurred in the Mpumalanga region of South Africa. A2 mating type isolates could be resolved into seven multilocus isozyme genotypes, compared with only two multilocus isozyme genotypes for the A1 mating type isolates. Low levels of gene (0.115) and genotypic (2.4%) diversity and a low number of alleles per locus (1.43) were observed for the South African P. cinnamomi population. The genetic distance between the Cape and Mpumalanga P. cinnamomi populations was relatively low (Dm = 0.165), and no specific pattern in regional distribution of multilocus isozyme genotypes could be observed. The genetic distance between the “old” (isolated between 1977 and 1986) and “new” (isolated between 1991 and 1993) P. cinnamomi populations from the Cape was low (Dm = 0.164), indicating a stable population over time. Three of the nine multilocus isozyme genotypes were specific to the “old” population, and only one multilocus isozyme genotype was specific to the “new” population. Significant differences in allele frequencies, a high genetic distance (Dm = 0.581) between the Cape A1 and A2 mating type isolates, significant deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, a low overall level of heterozygosity, and a high fixation index (0.71) all indicate that sexual reproduction occurs rarely, if at all, in the South African P. cinnamomi population.
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