First and second authors: Department of Horticulture; and third author: Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824
The pathogens causing perennial canker of peach, Leucostoma spp., were characterized in Michigan orchards to identify which species and subgroups (cryptic species) were prevalent on a highly susceptible peach cultivar, Loring, and a less susceptible cultivar, Redhaven. Four hundred and three strains of Leucostoma were isolated from cankers in three southwest Michigan orchards where ‘Loring’ occurred adjacent to ‘Redhaven’ in side-by-side plots. Based on colony morphology and small nuclear rDNA size polymorphisms, three cryptic species were detected; 89% of the isolates were identified as L. persoonii phenetic group 1, 10% were L. cincta group 4, and 1% were L. persoonii group 2. Pathogen profiles differed significantly between cankers on small branches of ‘Loring’ and ‘Redhaven’, and between cankers on small branches and trunks. Of 1,232 random pairings among isolates of L. persoonii group 1, 95% were vegetatively incompatible. A minimum of 11 and a maximum of 17 maternal lines were identified based upon mitochondrial DNA restriction fragment length polymorphisms among 69 isolates of L. persoonii group 1 from one split-cultivar block of 72 trees. Vegetative compatibility loci were randomly associated with maternal lines. Evidence of clonality was absent in L. persoonii group 1, as no correlation occurred between these two sets of independent genetic markers and no genotype was over-represented. The number of cryptic species, the number of maternal lines, and the frequency of incompatibility within maternal lines indicate that considerable genetic variation exists within the Leucostoma populations in Michigan peach orchards, and that sexual recombination is common.