First and second authors: Unité de Recherches Santé Végétale, INRA Bordeaux, BP 81, 33 883 Villenave d'Ornon, France; and third author: Istituto di Patologia vegetale, Università degli Studi di Milano, via Celoria 2, 20133 Milan, Italy
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Accepted for publication 31 March 2000.
In France, chestnut blight, caused by Cryphonectria parasitica, has been controlled since 1974 in orchards, but never in coppice forests, by releasing hypovirulent strains infected with CHV1 hypovirus. We tested the hypothesis that this biological control (BC) has lead to a decrease in blight severity, spread of hypovirulence, and change in C. parasitica populations. The low severity of chestnut blight was confirmed in the six regions studied (subdivided into zones). The remission of cankers was associated with the presence of white isolates presumed to be hypovirulent. These two parameters were also correlated, at the zonal level, to the frequency of sites where BC was used. However, the estimates of the natural background level of hypovirulence, independent of BC, ranged from 4% in forests in Dordogne to 60% in orchards in Lozère. Differences in the rate of hypovirulent isolates among regions were consistent with the diversity of vegetative compatibility (VC) types in populations of C. parasitica. The highest VC-type diversity and mean allelic diversity for known vegetative incompatibility (vic) genes were observed in Dordogne. We showed that the current diversity of VC types in populations of C. parasitica was lower than in 1981. We found 30 VC types among 1,113 isolates of C. parasitica. Ten VC types were incompatible with known EU testers, suggesting that one additional vic gene or allele at one of the six vic loci known should be present in Europe.
© 2000 The American Phytopathological Society