, Volume 108, Issue 6, pp 573-583

Variation in Pathogenicity Associated with the Genetic Diversity of Fusarium graminearum

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We screened 188 isolates of Fusarium graminearum, which originated from northwest Europe, the USA and Nepal, for genetic diversity using a sequence-characterised amplified region polymorphism (SCAR). On the basis of this analysis, 42 of the 118 isolates were selected for random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) analysis. Three groups were identified, two of which, A and B, contained the isolates from Nepal, and a third, group C, contained the isolates from Europe and the USA. In pathogenicity tests on wheat and maize seedlings, group C isolates were more pathogenic than the group A and B isolates. The isolates were assigned chemotypes based on their ability to produce the trichothecene mycotoxins nivalenol (NIV) and deoxynivalenol (DON). Isolates from group A were equally likely to produce NIV or DON while group B isolates produced predominantly NIV, and group C isolates produced predominantly DON. Within group A, isolates of the two chemotypes were equally pathogenic to wheat but isolates with the NIV chemotype were significantly more pathogenic to maize. The results confirm that distinct genetic groups exist within F. graminearum and demonstrate that these groups have different biological properties, especially with respect to their pathogenicity to two of the most economically important hosts of this pathogen.