Sarah J. Pethybridge, Botanical Resources Australia–Agricultural Services Pty. Ltd., Ulverstone, Tasmania, 7315, Australia; and
Jason B. Scott and
Frank S. Hay, Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research (TIAR), University of Tasmania–Cradle Coast campus, Burnie, Tasmania, 7320, Australia
Ray blight, caused by Phoma ligulicola var. inoxydabilis, causes substantial annual losses in Australian pyrethrum fields. Fifty-nine P. ligulicola var. inoxydabilis isolates were randomly selected from fields in three distinct geographical regions in Tasmania, Australia. Genetic diversity was characterized using random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). Based on genetic similarities of less than 99%, 56 distinct genotypes (putative clones) were observed. Mean haploid gene diversity of clone-corrected populations ranged between 0.05 and 0.31, and 0.11 and 0.32, for the RAPD and AFLP data sets, respectively. Cluster analysis indicated two distinct groups of isolates supported by all bootstrap replicates. The first cluster contained all but four isolates with representatives from all three populations. The second cluster contained two isolates from the Western and Central populations, respectively, while the remaining isolates were not able to be grouped with any distinct cluster. Analysis of the population structure suggested no evidence for spatial autocorrelation at the smallest distance classes. The presence of linkage disequilibrium was indicated regardless of population scale. Collectively, these findings provided further evidence for the absence or minor role of the teleomorph in the epidemiology of ray blight in Australian pyrethrum fields.