First, second, and third authors: Natural Resources Canada, Laurentian Forestry Centre, P.O. Box 3800, 1055 du P.E.P.S., Sainte-Foy, Quebec, G1V 4C7, Canada
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Accepted for publication 30 November 2006.
Poplar leaf rust caused by Melampsora medusae f. sp. deltoidae is a widespread disease in North America, where epidemics occur within zones of sympatry and allopatry of telial hosts (Populus spp.) and aecial hosts (Larix spp.). To test the hypothesis that epidemics originate in the zone of sympatry where the rust can complete its life cycle, populations in sympatry and allopatry were analyzed with single-strand conformational polymorphism for codominant detection of alleles directly from uredinia. More alleles were detected in rust populations in the zone of host sympatry than in allopatry. Almost all alleles found in the zone of allopatry were a subset of the allelic diversity present in the zone of host sympatry. Distance analyses clustered populations according to geographic origin, but not sampling year or type of stand (plantation or natural stands). Large differences in allelic and genotypic frequency were observed between years in allopatry but not in sympatry, suggesting new colonizations in allopatric populations. Our results point to a dynamic and complex pattern of inoculum dissemination in polar leaf rust. The hypothesis most consistent with our results is that populations in sympatry represent a source of inoculum for epidemics, with some annual recolonization in allopatry, possibly via intermediate population jumps.
The American Phytopathological Society, 2007