Research Article

Current Genetics

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 142-149

First online:

Genetic structure of a population of the fungus Leptosphaeria maculans in a disease nursery of Brassica napus in Australia

  • Helen L. HaydenAffiliated withSchool of Botany, The University of Melbourne Email author 
  • , Barbara J. HowlettAffiliated withSchool of Botany, The University of Melbourne

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Microsatellite, minisatellite and mating type markers were used to determine the genetic structure of the fungus Leptosphaeria maculans within a disease nursery, where Brassica napus lines were screened for resistance to blackleg disease under high inoculum pressure. Fungal isolates were collected from pseudothecia in infected stubble and pycnidia within cotyledon lesions on seedlings within the nursery. Genetic diversity was high with gene diversity at H=0.700 across four polymorphic loci, and genotypic diversity at D=0.993. Among the 159 isolates analysed, 102 multilocus genotypes were identified. The even distribution of mating type idiomorphs MAT1-1 and MAT1-2 and gametic equilibrium within the population provided further evidence of random mating. Genetic diversity was distributed on a very fine scale in the disease nursery. The majority of genetic diversity (67%) was distributed among conidia within a lesion or among ascospores from a piece of stubble, while the remainder (33%) was distributed within lesions on seedlings or different stubble pieces. There were no among-group differences between samples from stubble and seedlings. This is consistent with the low level of genetic differentiation between the ascospore and conidia samples (F ST=0.017) indicating that all isolates of L. maculans from the disease nursery most likely belong to one population, and that ascospores form the primary inoculum in the disease nursery.


Phoma leaf spot Phoma lingam Microsatellite Population genetics Brassica napus