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Genetic Variability and Structure of Canadian Populations of the Sapstain Fungus Ceratocystis resinifera

December 2004 , Volume 94 , Number  12
Pages  1,323 - 1,330

Chantal Morin , Colette Breuil , and Louis Bernier

First and third authors: Centre de recherche en biologie forestière, Université Laval, Cité universitaire, Québec G1K 7P4, Canada; and second author: Department of Wood Science, University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z4, Canada

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Accepted for publication 14 July 2004.

Genomic DNA was extracted from 129 isolates of Ceratocystis resinifera, a species belonging to the C. coerulescens complex, and 19 polymorphic random amplified polymorphic DNA markers were used to study the population genetic structure of this fungus. The analysis suggested a moderate value for genetic diversity (HS = 0.209). However, when monomorphic markers and rare alleles, representing 89 markers, also were included in the calculation, the genetic diversity of Canadian populations of C. resinifera appeared to be much lower (HS = 0.045). This could be explained by two hypotheses: (i) recent introduction of this species into North America and (ii) clonal reproduction (by selfing). No specialization by C. resinifera for coniferous tree species was observed based on genetic differentiation index between isolates sampled from Pinus and Picea spp. and on phylogenetic analysis using Dice coefficient of association. In spite of a low genetic diversity, a very high genetic differentiation was observed among the nine geographical populations studied (FST = 20.8%). The genetic differences were especially striking when populations from Eastern Canada were compared with populations from Western Canada (φST = 0.27%; P < 0.001), suggesting that a geographic reproductive barrier occurs in Central Canada. This barrier may be the consequence of a weak migration of insect vectors of C. resinifera due to reduced presence of hosts in the Canadian Great Plains, where extensive agriculture occurs. However, results from pairwise FST matrix and phylogeny of haplotypes suggest that the barrier is not totally impenetrable because some gene flow occurred from the west and from the east in the Big River (Saskatchewan) population located in the middle of the Great Plains.

© 2004 The American Phytopathological Society