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Rapid Evolution of Pathogenicity Within Clonal Lineages of the Potato Late Blight Disease Fungus. Stephen B. Goodwin, Department of Plant Pathology, 334 Plant Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853; Ludwik S. Sujkowski, and William E. Fry. Department of Plant Pathology, 334 Plant Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. Phytopathology 85:669-676. Accepted for publication 30 January 1995. Copyright 1995 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-85-669.

Seventy-seven isolates of the potato and tomato late blight disease pathogen, Phytophthora infestans, from the United States, Canada, and northwestern Mexico, were tested for pathogenicity to nine potato and three tomato cultivars carrying different genes for resistance. Based on previous analyses of mating type, allozyme, and DNA fingerprint data, these isolates had been assigned to eight different clonal lineages. When the total pathogenic variation was partitioned into within- and among-lineage components using the Shannon information statistic, most (63%) of the variation was due to differentiation among lineages; only 37% of the total pathogenic diversity was due to variation within lineages. Older lineages had more pathogenic variation than did those that were more recently introduced into the United States and Canada. Isolates pathogenic to all of the potato differential cultivars were found within two lineages; four isolates infected all of the potato and tomato differentials tested. Variation within lineages is probably the result of rapid evolution after migration, and suggests that mutation rates at pathogenicity loci are higher than those at the molecular loci that defined each genotype. Mutation, selection, and genetic drift have probably all contributed to the pathogenic variation observed within clonal lineages of P. infestans in the United States and Canada.