Twenty-six isolates of a Phytophthora population from two wild solanaceous species, Solanum tetrapetalum (n 11) and S. brevifolium (n = 15), were characterized morphologically, with genetic and phenotypic markers, and for pathogenicity on potato and tomato. Based on morphology, ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region 2 (ITS2) sequence, and pathogenicity, all isolates closely resembled P. infestans and were tentatively placed in that species. Nonetheless, this population of Phytophthora is novel. Its primary host is neither potato nor tomato, and all isolates had three restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) bands (probe RG57) and a mitochondrial DNA haplotype that have not been reported for P. infestans. All the isolates were the A2 mating type when tested with a P. infestans A1 isolate. The A2 mating type has not been found among isolates of P. infestans from potato or tomato in Ecuador. Geographical substructing of the Ecuadorian A2 population was detected. The three isolates from the village of Nono, identical to the others in all other aspects, differed by three RFLP bands; those from Nono lacked bands 10 and 16, but possessed band 19. Most of the Ecuadorian A2 isolates were nonpathogenic on potato and tomato, but a few caused very small lesions with sparse sporulation on necrotic tissue. Cluster analysis of multilocus genotypes (RFLP, mating type, and two allozymes) dissociated this A2 population from genotypes representing clonally propagated populations of P. infestans worldwide. The current hypotheses for the historical global movements of P. infestans do not satisfactorily explain the origin or possible time of introduction into Ecuador of this A2 population. Assuming the population is P. infestans, its presence in Ecuador suggests either a hitherto unreported migration of the pathogen or an indigenous population that had not previously been detected.
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