Double-stranded (ds) RNAs in Cryphonectria parasitica were randomly sampled from nine subpopulations in North America using an antibody-based detection system for dsRNA. dsRNA was detected in 166 (28%) of a total of 595 C. parasitica isolates sampled by immunoblotting. Incidence of dsRNA infection within subpopulations ranged from 0% in samples from New Hampshire and Ontario to 100% in County Line, MI. Most of the dsRNAs sampled were approximately 9 to 13 kb in size. dsRNAs from 72 isolates analyzed by probing Northern blots with 32P-labeled dsRNAs were in one of three hybridization groups. One hybridization group was widespread throughout eastern North America, being found in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Michigan. These dsRNAs hybridized to dsRNA from the previously described C. parasitica isolate SR2 from Maryland and are referred to as SR2-type dsRNAs. The second hybridization group was found almost exclusively in Michigan. The Michigan dsRNAs cross-hybridized to Cryphonectria hypovirus 3-GH2 (CHV3-GH2) and are referred to as CHV3-type dsRNAs.One dsRNA sampled from Kentucky hybridized to CHV3-type dsRNAs from Michigan. This dsRNA was probably derived from a fungal isolate that had been intentionally released for biological control at this same site 10 years previously and had become established in Kentucky. The third hybridization group was found only in New Jersey. These dsRNAs were much smaller than all other dsRNAs (3 and 5 kb) and were found in all 11 isolates that were probed; two of these isolates also had SR2-type dsRNA in mixed infections. None of the North American dsRNAs hybridized to CHV1 from Europe, even though CHV1 has been released in numerous locations in eastern North America for biological control of chestnut blight. Similarly, no dsRNAs hybridized to CHV2-NB58, a hypovirus found previously in New Jersey. Mixed infections of SR2-type and CHV3-type dsRNAs were found in 13 of 15 isolates from Frankfort, MI, while another nearby subpopulation (County Line) was infected with only CHV3-type dsRNAs. The distribution of dsRNA hybridization groups in C. parasitica thus presents a mixed picture, since one hybridization group is widespread, whereas two others are primarily restricted to smaller geographic areas.
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