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Molecular Characterization of Natural Hybrids of Phytophthora nicotianae and P. cactorum

August 2000 , Volume 90 , Number  8
Pages  867 - 874

Peter J. M. Bonants , Marjanne Hagenaar-de Weerdt , Willem A. Man in 't Veld , and Robert P. Baayen

First and second authors: Plant Research International, PO Box 16, 6700 AA Wageningen, the Netherlands; third and fourth authors: Plant Protection Service, PO Box 9102, 6700 HC Wageningen, the Netherlands

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Accepted for publication 3 May 2000.

Hybrid isolates of Phytophthora nicotianae × P. cactorum from five different hosts (Cyclamen, Lavandula, Lewisia, Primula, and Spathiphyllum spp.) were identified by their atypical morphology and their well-defined heterozygous isozyme patterns. The hybrid nature of these isolates was tested by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA, generating fragments typical for both P. nicotianae and P. cactorum. In hybrid isolates, polymerase chain reactions (PCR) with primers derived from unique parts of the ITS region (ITS-PCR) of both species yielded a combination of unique amplicons typical of both parental species. Eleven hybrid isolates, three isolates of each parental species and two atypical isolates from Rhododendron and Idesia spp. close to P. cactorum, were analyzed for amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP). Consistent differences in AFLP patterns existed among the hybrid isolates, strongly indicating that these hybrids have arisen from independent hybridization events between P. nicotianae and P. cactorum. The two atypical isolates morphologically resembling P. cactorum were identical to the latter species in ITS-restriction fragment length polymorphism and response to the specific PCR primers but were intermediate between P. nicotianae × P. cactorum and P. cactorum in isozyme profiles and AFLP patterns. Since the introduction of hydroponic systems in greenhouses in the Netherlands, outbreaks of Phytophthora diseases are occurring in previously unaffected host species. This may be due to interspecific hybridization events resulting in novel pathogenic behavior.

© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society