An Ephemeral Sexual Population of Phytophthora infestans in the Northeastern United States and Canada

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  • Phytophthora infestans, the causal agent of late blight disease, has been reported in North America since the mid-nineteenth century. In the United States the lack of or very limited sexual reproduction has resulted in largely clonal populations of P. infestans. In 2010 and 2011, but not in 2012 or 2013, 20 rare and diverse genotypes of P. infestans were detected in a region that centered around central New York State. The ratio of A1 to A2 mating types among these genotypes was close to the 50:50 ratio expected for sexual recombination. These genotypes were diverse at the glucose-6-phosphate isomerase locus, differed in their microsatellite profiles, showed different banding patterns in a restriction fragment length polymorphism assay using a moderately repetitive and highly polymorphic probe (RG57), were polymorphic for four different nuclear genes and differed in their sensitivity to the systemic fungicide mefenoxam. The null hypothesis of linkage equilibrium was not rejected, which suggests the population could be sexual. These new genotypes were monomorphic in their mitochondrial haplotype that was the same as US-22. Through parentage exclusion testing using microsatellite data and sequences of four nuclear genes, recent dominant lineages US-8, US-11, US-23, and US-24 were excluded as possible parents for these genotypes. Further analyses indicated that US-22 could not be eliminated as a possible parent for 14 of the 20 genotypes. We conclude that US-22 could be a parent of some, but not all, of the new genotypes found in 2010 and 2011. There were at least two other parents for this population and the genotypic characteristics of the other parents were identified.
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  • Danies, G., Myers, K., Mideros, M. F., Restrepo, S., Martin, F. N., Cooke, D. E. L., ... & Fry, W. E. (2014). An Ephemeral Sexual Population of Phytophthora infestans in the Northeastern United States and Canada. PLoS ONE, 9(12), e116354. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0116354
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  • 9
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  • 12
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  • This work was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program Grant 2011-68004-30154 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, by the USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SAREGNE13-056), and by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University.
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