First and third authors: UMR BGPI, Campus International de Baillarguet, TA 41/K, 34398 Montpellier Cedex 05, France; and second author: UMR PaVé: INRA, 42 rue Georges Morel—BP 60057 49071, Beaucouzé Cedex, France
Xanthomonas arboricola pv. pruni, the causal agent of bacterial spot on stone fruit, was found in 1995 in several orchards in southeastern France. We studied population genetics of this emerging pathogen in comparison with populations from the United States, where the disease was first described, and from Italy, where the disease has occurred since 1920. Four housekeeping genes (atpD, dnaK, efp, and glnA) and the intergenic transcribed spacer region were sequenced from a total of 3.9 kb of sequences, and fluorescent amplified fragment length polymorphism (FAFLP) analysis was performed. A collection of 64 X. arboricola pv. pruni strains, including 23 strains from France, was analyzed. The X. arboricola pv. pruni population had a low diversity because no sequence polymorphisms were observed. Population diversity revealed by FAFLP was lower for the West European population than for the American population. The same bacterial genotype was detected from five countries on three continents, a geographic distribution that can be explained by human-aided migration of bacteria. Our data support the hypothesis that the pathogen originated in the United States and subsequently has been disseminated to other stone-fruit-growing regions of the world. In France, emergence of this disease was due to a recent introduction of the most prevalent genotype of the bacterium found worldwide.