First, fourth, and fifth authors: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service Cereal Disease Laboratory, 1551 Lindig Street, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108; first, second, third, and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108; and second author: Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China
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Accepted for publication 12 August 2002.
Wheat heads showing symptoms of Fusarium head blight were collected from four commercial fields in Zhejiang Province, China, an area where epidemics occur regularly. A total of 225 isolates were subjected to population-level analyses using restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) as markers. Diagnostic RFLP markers established that all isolates belonged to Fusarium graminearum lineage 6. Nine polymorphic probes were hybridized to all isolates, resulting in 65 multilocus RFLP haplotypes (MRH). Probing with the telomeric clone pNla17, which reveals differences among isolates in the hypervariable subtelomeric region, differentiated the 65 MRH further into 144 clones. Mean gene diversity for the four field populations was similar, ranging from H = 0.306 - 0.364 over the nine RFLP loci for clone-corrected data. High levels of gene flow were inferred from a low level of population subdivision among all field populations, indicating that they were part of the same population. Pairwise linkage disequilibrium measures did not unequivocally support a random mating population, because one-third of locus pairs were significantly different from the null hypothesis of no-association between alleles. We speculate therefore that sexual recombination may not be frequent and that high levels of genotypic diversity may be maintained by relatively low selection pressure acting on a highly diverse population.
The American Phytopathological Society, 2002