, Volume 105, Issue 7, pp 667-680

Gene and Genotypic Diversity of Phytophthora cinnamomi in South Africa and Australia Revealed by DNA Polymorphisms

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Abstract

Phytophthora cinnamomi isolates from South Africa and Australia were compared to assess genetic differentiation between the two populations. These two populations were analysed for levels of phenotypic diversity using random amplified polymorphic DNAs (RAPDs) and gene and genotypic diversity using restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs). Sixteen RAPD markers from four decanucleotide Operon primers and 34 RFLP alleles from 15 putative loci were used. A few isolates from Papua New Guinea known to posses alleles different from Australian isolates were also included for comparative purposes. South African and Australian P. cinnamomi populations were almost identical with an extremely low level of genetic distance between them (Dm=0.003). Common features for the two populations include shared alleles, low levels of phenotypic/genotypic diversity, high clonality, and low observed and expected levels of heterozygosity. Furthermore, relatively high levels of genetic differentiation between mating type populations (Dm South Africa=0.020 and Dm Australia=0.025 respectively), negative fixation indices, and significant deviations from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium, all provided evidence for the lack of frequent sexual reproduction in both populations. The data strongly suggest that both the South African and Australian P. cinnamomi populations are introduced.