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Genetic Uniformity Among Isolates of Peronospora tabacina, the Tobacco Blue Mold Pathogen

November 2002 , Volume 92 , Number  11
Pages  1,236 - 1,244

Serenella A. Sukno , Amy M. Taylor , and Mark L. Farman

University of Kentucky, Department of Plant Pathology, S-305 Agricultural Sciences Center-North, Lexington 40546

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Accepted for publication 25 June 2002.

As a first step toward analysis of genetic variation and population structure in Peronospora tabacina, we used a collection of random genomic DNA fragments to survey for restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) in DNA from a collection of isolates from Kentucky and other tobacco-growing regions of the United States. Also included in the study were isolates from the wild tobacco species, Nicotiana repanda, and from ornamental tobacco, N. alata. In a preliminary survey using DNA from 10 pathogen isolates, no polymorphisms were detected at six single-copy DNA loci using 22 probe-enzyme combinations. Moderately repetitive and highly repetitive regions of the genome were also remarkably similar between isolates, with only 6 of 15 different probes identifying genetic differences. Some of the polymorphic probes were then used to analyze a larger collection of isolates, most of which were from Kentucky. This resulted in the identification of very few additional polymorphisms, indicating that the population of P. tabacina that infects the Kentucky tobacco crop is genetically very homogeneous. The low level of polymorphism detected in this study overall, suggests that genetic variability may be lacking in P. tabacina populations throughout the United States. Two of the RFLP markers gave hybridization patterns that were consistent with P. tabacina being diploid. Frequencies of alleles at these loci and linkage disequilibrium between different marker loci indicated that genetic recombination does not occur frequently in the pathogen population. DNA polymorphisms that were identified in this study enabled us to differentiate the pathogen population into at least 10 haplotypes. One isolate was analyzed in detail and was shown to be genetically stable through several rounds of single-spore isolation and through several pathogenic cycles.

Additional keywords: biotroph, DNA fingerprinting, obligate parasite, transposon.

© 2002 The American Phytopathological Society