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Population Structure of Seedborne Phaeosphaeria nodorum on New York Wheat

March 2005 , Volume 95 , Number  3
Pages  300 - 305

Rebecca S. Bennett , Michael G. Milgroom , and Gary C. Bergstrom

Department of Plant Pathology, Cornell University, 334 Plant Science Building, Ithaca, NY 14853

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Accepted for publication 22 November 2004.

Population genetic and epidemiological studies have resulted in different hypotheses about the predominant source of primary inoculum in the Phaeosphaeria nodorum-wheat pathosystem (i.e., sexually derived, windborne ascospores versus asexual or seedborne inoculum). We examined the genetic structure of seedborne populations of P. nodorum as a further step toward evaluating the hypothesis that seedborne inoculum is an important contributor to foliar epidemics in New York's rotational wheat fields. In all, 330 seedborne isolates from seven field populations were genotyped at 155 amplified fragment length polymorphism loci. Seedborne populations possessed high levels of genotypic diversity, with virtually every isolate (326/330) having a unique haplotype. As in previous population genetic studies of P. nodorum, we found low levels of gametic disequilibrium, although we could reject the null hypothesis of random mating with the index of association test for two populations. Thus, genotypically diverse and seemingly panmictic populations of P. nodorum that have been observed in wheat foliage could be derived from seedborne primary inoculum. Although sexual reproduction and recombination may contribute to the diversity of foliar populations of P. nodorum, population genetic data do not rule out seed as a source of primary inoculum. Further experimentation will be needed to determine definitively the relative importance of windborne ascospores and seed-borne asexual inoculum in epidemics of Stagonospora nodorum blotch in New York.

Additional keyword: inoculum sources .

© 2005 The American Phytopathological Society