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Genetic Differentiation at Microsatellite Loci Among Populations of Mycosphaerella graminicola from California, Indiana, Kansas, and North Dakota

October 2011 , Volume 101 , Number  10
Pages  1,251 - 1,259

Suraj Gurung, Stephen B. Goodwin, Mehdi Kabbage, William W. Bockus, and Tika B. Adhikari

First and fifth authors: Department of Plant Pathology, North Dakota State University, NDSU Department 7660, P.O. Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050; second author: United States Department of Agriculture–Agricultural Research Service, 915 West State Street, Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054; third author: Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-2132; and fourth author: Department of Plant Pathology, Kansas State University, 4024 Throckmorton Plant Science Center, Manhattan, KS 66506-5502.

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Accepted for publication 10 June 2011.

Mycosphaerella graminicola causes Septoria tritici blotch (STB) in wheat (Triticum aestivum) and is considered one of the most devastating pathogens of that crop in the United States. Although the genetic structures of M. graminicola populations from different countries have been analyzed using various molecular markers, relatively little is known about M. graminicola populations from geographically distinct areas of the United States and, in particular, of those from spring versus winter wheat. These are exposed to great differences in environmental conditions, length and season of host-free periods, and resistance sources used in geographically separated wheat breeding programs. Thus, there is more likely to be genetic differentiation between populations from spring versus winter wheat than there is among those within each region. To test this hypothesis, 330 single-spore isolates of M. graminicola representing 11 populations (1 from facultative winter wheat in California, 2 from spring wheat in North Dakota, and 8 from winter wheat in Indiana and Kansas) were analyzed for mating type frequency and for genetic variation at 17 microsatellite or simple-sequence repeat (SSR) loci. Analysis of clone-corrected data revealed an equal distribution of both mating types in the populations from Kansas, Indiana, and North Dakota, but a deviation from a 1:1 ratio in the California population. In total, 306 haplotypes were detected, almost all of which were unique in all 11 populations. High levels of gene diversity (H = 0.31 to 0.56) were observed within the 11 populations. Significant (P ≤ 0.05) gametic disequilibrium, as measured by the index of association (rBarD), was observed in California, one Indiana population (IN1), and three populations (KS1, KS2, and KS3) in Kansas that could not be explained by linkage. Corrected standardized fixation index (GST) values were 0.000 to 0.621 between the 11 populations and the majority of pairwise comparisons were statistically significant (P ≤ 0.001), suggesting some differentiation between populations. Analysis of molecular variance showed that there was a small but statistically significant level of genetic differentiation between populations from spring versus winter wheat. However, most of the total genetic variation (>98%) occurred within spring and winter wheat regions while <2% was due to genetic differentiation between these regions. Taken together, these results provide evidence that sexual recombination occurs frequently in the M. graminicola populations sampled and that most populations are genetically differentiated over the major spring- and winter-wheat-growing regions of the United States.

Additional keywords: genetic diversity.

© 2011 The American Phytopathological Society