Link to home

Molecular Evidence of Distinct Introductions of the European Race of Gremmeniella abietina into North America

June 1998 , Volume 88 , Number  6
Pages  582 - 588

Richard C. Hamelin , Nicole Lecours , and Gaston Laflamme

Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Laurentian Forestry Centre, P.O. Box 3800, 1055 du P.E.P.S., Sainte-Foy, Quebec G1V 4C7

Go to article:
Accepted for publication 8 March 1998.

The presence of the European (EU) race of Gremmeniella abietina var. abietina, the causal agent of Scleroderris canker of conifers, was first reported in North America in 1975 in the northeastern United States and subsequently in southern Quebec and Newfoundland during the late 1970s, where it quickly became established. We analyzed DNA profiles in samples from a historic collection of G. abietina var. abietina that included some of the first isolates of the EU race reported in the United States to test hypotheses concerning the G. abietina var. abietina epidemic in North America. Genetic diversity was partitioned by an analysis of molecular variance with haplotype frequencies and distances. Genetic differentiation was high between populations in continental North America and Newfoundland (between region differentiation, Φct = 0.665, P < 0.001). This result was not consistent with the hypothesis of a single introduction of the pathogen into the northeastern United States followed by secondary spread into northeastern Canada. In contrast, small levels of genetic differentiation were observed among continental North American populations (Φct = 0.047, P = 0.079), suggesting gene flow among these populations. A single haplotype of G. abietina var. abietina dominated the continental populations (80% of the isolates) but was absent from Newfoundland and Europe. Five haplotypes were found in the New-foundland population, all of which were either absent or very rare on the continent. Populations from continental North America clustered together and were distinct from a second cluster composed of European and Newfoundland populations. A phylogenetic analysis of the haplotypes indicated that some of the rare haplotypes may have derived from somatic mutations, whereas others probably occurred as the result of new introductions. The results are consistent with a scenario of distinct primary introductions of this pathogen into Newfoundland and continental eastern North America followed by secondary asexual propagation.

Additional keywords: random amplified polymorphic DNA .

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society