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Influence of Host Resistance on the Genetic Structure of the White Pine Blister Rust Fungus in the Western United States

April 2008 , Volume 98 , Number  4
Pages  413 - 420

B. A. Richardson, N. B. Klopfenstein, P. J. Zambino, G. I. McDonald, B. W. Geils, and L. M. Carris

First, second, third, and fourth authors: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Moscow, Idaho 83843; first and sixth authors: Washington State University, Department of Plant Pathology, Pullman 99164; and fifth author: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Flagstaff, AZ 86001.

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Accepted for publication 7 December 2007.

Cronartium ribicola, the causal agent of white pine blister rust, has been devastating to five-needled white pines in North America since its introduction nearly a century ago. However, dynamic and complex interactions occur among C. ribicola, five-needled white pines, and the environment. To examine potential evolutionary influences on genetic structure and diversity of C. ribicola in western United States, population genetic analyses of C. ribicola were conducted using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) molecular markers. The fungus was sampled at six sites. Collections for two of the six sites were from separate plantings of resistant-selected western white pine and sugar pine. Heterozygosity based on polymorphic loci among populations ranged from 0.28 to 0.40, with resistant-selected plantations at the extremes. Genetic differentiation was also highest between these two populations. Principal coordinates analysis and Bayesian assignment placed most isolates that are putative carriers of virulence to major-gene resistance into a discernable cluster, while other isolates showed no clustering by site or host species. These results indicate that C. ribicola in western North America is not genetically uniform, despite its presumed single site of introduction and relatively brief residence. Moreover, major-gene resistance appears to have imposed strong selection on the rust, resulting in reduced genetic diversity. In contrast, no evidence of selection was observed in C. ribicola from hosts that exhibit only multigenic resistance.

Additional keywords:qualitative and quantitative resistance.

The American Phytopathological Society, 2008