Biological Invasions

, Volume 21, Issue 9, pp 2919–2932 | Cite as

Molecular analyses indicate that both native and exotic pathogen populations serve as sources of novel outbreaks of Cypress Canker Disease

  • Gianni Della Rocca
  • Roberto Danti
  • Nari Williams
  • Catherine Eyre
  • Matteo GarbelottoEmail author
Original Paper


Invasive pathogens may follow stepwise spread pathways in which novel disease outbreaks become themselves sources of genotypes initiating novel infestations. Due to its worldwide distribution, Cypress Canker Disease (CCD) provides an opportunity to understand patterns of global spread of a forest pathogen. A comparative genetic analysis was performed on 110 isolates of the causal agent of CCD, the fungus Seiridium cardinale, from Europe, North America, Africa and Oceania using β-tubulin gene sequences and repeat numbers of seven nuclear SSRs. SSR data were used to calculate genetic indices for each geographic population, including those calculating allele and private allele diversity; clonal genotype, haplotype, and gene diversity; expected heterozygosity; and presence of linkage disequilibrium. Additionally, SSR data were used to calculate migration rates between regions, and to draw a minimum spanning network to visualize genetic relatedness among genotypes. Results identified the California population as a sexually reproducing, highly diverse, native population, and the Mediterranean population as a large, clonally reproducing, and exotic population directly derived from the California population. The New Zealand population appeared to be non-native, with intermediate values of genetic diversity and an asexual reproductive mode. Unexpectedly, two sources were identified for the New Zealand population: an older source was identified in California, while a more recent one was identified in the Mediterranean. Results allowed to infer migration intensity between continents, and are among the first to show that an exotic outbreak of a forest disease can become a source of pathogen genotypes for novel outbreaks in disjunct geographic regions.


Ghost population Intercontinental spread routes Migrate Minimum spanning network Seiridium cardinale Stepping-stone population 



The study was partially funded by Fondazione Giorgio Tesi, through an annual grant for the training of young researchers and support to genetic improvement of cypress at IPSP-CNR.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no direct or indirect conflicts of interest in this research.

Supplementary material

10530_2019_2022_MOESM1_ESM.docx (40 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 40 kb)


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection IPSPNational Research Council CNRSesto Fiorentino, FlorenceItaly
  2. 2.Forest ProtectionScion (New Zealand Forest Research Institute)RotoruaNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of ESPM, 54 Mulford HallUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

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