Colletotrichum: species complexes, lifestyle, and peculiarities of some sources of genetic variability

  • Leandro Lopes da Silva
  • Hanna Lorena Alvarado Moreno
  • Hilberty Lucas Nunes Correia
  • Mateus Ferreira Santana
  • Marisa Vieira de QueirozEmail author


The genus Colletotrichum comprises species with different lifestyles but is mainly known for phytopathogenic species that infect crops of agronomic relevance causing considerable losses. The fungi of the genus Colletotrichum are distributed in species complexes and within each complex some species have particularities regarding their lifestyle. The most commonly found and described lifestyles in Colletotrichum are endophytic and hemibiotrophic phytopathogenic. Several of these phytopathogenic species show wide genetic variability, which makes long-term maintenance of resistance in plants difficult. Different mechanisms may play an important role in the emergence of genetic variants but are not yet fully understood in this genus. These mechanisms include heterokaryosis, a parasexual cycle, sexual cycle, transposable element activity, and repeat-induced point mutations. This review provides an overview of the genus Colletotrichum, the species complexes described so far and the most common lifestyles in the genus, with a special emphasis on the mechanisms that may be responsible, at least in part, for the emergence of new genotypes under field conditions.


Phytopathogens Colletotrichum species complexes sexual cycle parasexual cycle Repeat Induced Point Mutation transposable elements 


Funding information

This research was financially supported by the following Brazilian agencies: the Minas Gerais Science Foundation (FAPEMIG–Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de Minas Gerais), the Brazilian Federal Agency of Support and Evaluation of Postgraduate Education–Finance code 001 (CAPES–Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior), and the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq–Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratório de Genética Molecular de Fungos, Departamento de Microbiologia/Instituto de Biotecnologia Aplicada à Agropecuária (BIOAGRO)Universidade Federal de ViçosaViçosaBrazil

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