European Journal of Plant Pathology

, Volume 130, Issue 4, pp 521–528 | Cite as

Molecular phylogenetic analysis of Peronosclerospora (Oomycetes) reveals cryptic species and genetically distinct species parasitic to maize

  • Sabine Telle
  • Roger G. Shivas
  • Malcolm J. Ryley
  • Marco ThinesEmail author


Downy mildews are amongst the most widespread and economically important pathogens of cultivated grasses in the tropics and subtropics. Despite their importance, molecular methods, particularly DNA sequence analysis, have rarely been applied to either species identification or to the determination of phylogenetic relationships between species. Here we report the presence of several cryptic species in the genus Peronosclerospora. Further we confirm that maize can be parasitised by several species of Peronosclerospora, including P. eriochloae, which has not been reported previously as a pathogen of maize. The presence of 14 distinct phylogenetic lineages, including three that are parasitic to maize, highlights the current fragmentary knowledge on the diversity and classification of species within Peronosclerospora. Species identification in Peronosclerospora has been traditionally based on the host genus and a set of variable morphological characteristics, which has meant that the identification of species is often unreliable. This situation is primed for the application of molecular techniques for the identification of species. One of the lineages parasitic to maize in Australia has not yet been formally described and its distribution is not known. Future investigation including a broad sampling of downy mildews from maize and other cultivated and native grasses on a world-wide basis is a prerequisite to a re-evaluation of quarantine regulations aimed at restricting or limiting their spread.


cox2 Graminicolous downy mildews Host range Large nuclear ribosomal subunit (nrLSU) Peronosporaceae Quarantine Sclerosporaceae 



We wish to thank the curators of the herbaria BRIP, DAR, NY as well as RP Thakur and YD Narayana for providing specimens. This study was supported by grants from the Elite Program for Postdocs of the Landesstiftung Baden-Württemberg and the Max-Planck Society, awarded to MT. Otmar Spring is gratefully acknowledged for providing laboratory space and access to equipment. The present study was also supported by the research funding programme “LOEWE—Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung Wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz” of Hesse’s Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and the Arts.


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Copyright information

© KNPV 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sabine Telle
    • 1
  • Roger G. Shivas
    • 2
  • Malcolm J. Ryley
    • 3
  • Marco Thines
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre (BiK-F)Frankfurt (Main)Germany
  2. 2.Plant Pathology Herbarium, Agri-Science QueenslandDutton ParkAustralia
  3. 3.Crop and Food Science, Agri-Science QueenslandToowoombaAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Biological Sciences, Institute of Ecology, Evolution and DiversityJohann Wolfgang Goethe UniversityFrankfurt (Main)Germany

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