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Interspecific Transmission of Double-Stranded RNA and Hypovirulence from Sclerotinia sclerotiorum to S. minor

July 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  7
Pages  780 - 784

M. S. Melzer , S. S. Ikeda , and G. J. Boland

Department of Environmental Biology, University of Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1

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Accepted for publication 22 February 2002.

Interspecific transmission of a hypovirulence-associated double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and hypovirulent phenotype was attempted from hypovirulent isolate Ss275 of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum to five virulent isolates of S. minor. dsRNA and the hypovirulent phenotype were successfully transmitted to one of the five isolates, Sm10. Three putative converted isolates of Sm10 were slow growing and developed atypical colony morphologies characteristic of the hypovirulent phenotype. These isolates were assayed for virulence and produced significantly smaller lesions than isolate Sm10 on detached leaves of Romaine lettuce. One of these putative converted isolates, designated Sm10T, was tested to confirm interspecific transmission of dsRNA. In northern hybridizations, dsRNA isolated from Sm10T hybridized with a digoxigenin-labeled cDNA probe prepared from dsRNA isolated from Ss275. Random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis confirmed that isolate Sm10T was derived from Sm10 and not from Ss275 or a hybrid of the two species. The dsRNA and hypovirulent phenotype were subsequently transmitted intraspecifically from Sm10T to Sm8. To our knowledge, this is the first report of interspecific transmission of dsRNA and an associated hypovirulent phenotype between fungal plant pathogens by hyphal anastomosis.

Additional keywords: fungal virus, horizontal transmission, intraspecific transmission.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society