Department of Plant Pathology, Washington State University, Box 646430, Pullman 99164-6430.
Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV), the cause of wheat streak mosaic, is a widespread and damaging pathogen of wheat. WSMV is not a chronic problem of annual wheat in the United States Pacific Northwest but could negatively affect the establishment of perennial wheat, which is being developed as an alternative to annual wheat to prevent soil erosion. Fifty local isolates of WSMV were collected from 2008 to 2010 near Lewiston, ID, Pullman, WA, and the United States Department of Agriculture Central Ferry Research Station, near Pomeroy, WA to determine the amount of genetic variation present in the region. The coat protein gene from each isolate was sequenced and the data subjected to four different methods of phylogenetic analyses. Two well-supported clades of WSMV were identified. Isolates in clade I share sequence similarity with isolates from Central Europe; this is the first report of isolates from Central Europe being reported in the United States. Isolates in clade II are similar to isolates originating from Australia, Argentina, and the American Pacific Northwest. Nine isolates showed evidence of recombination and the same two well-supported clades were observed when recombinant isolates were omitted from the analysis. More polymorphic sites, parsimony informative sites, and increased diversity were observed in clade II than clade I, suggesting more recent establishment of the virus in the latter. The observed diversity within both clades could make breeding for durable disease resistance in perennial wheat difficult if there is a differential response of WSMV resistance genes to isolates from different clades.