Variation in the nrDNA ITS sequences of some powdery mildew species: do routine molecular identification procedures hide valuable information?
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During the past years, nrDNA ITS sequences have supported the identification of many powdery mildew fungi because comprehensive analyses showed that differences in these sequences have always correlated with the delimitation of different species and formae speciales of the Erysiphales. Published data, obtained using direct sequencing of the PCR products, suggested that even one to five nucleotide differences in the ITS sequences delimit different, albeit closely related, species, and/or indicate differences in host range patterns. Here we show that such differences in the ITS sequences can be detected even in a single sample of a powdery mildew fungus. We sequenced the ITS region in 17 samples, representing six powdery mildew species, both directly and after cloning the PCR products. Among these, samples of O. longipes exhibited two or three, samples of O. neolycopersici three or four, those of an Oidium sp. from Chelidonium majus up to seven, and a sample of another Oidium sp. from Passiflora caerulea two different ITS types determined after cloning. No ITS nucleotide polymorphisms were found in samples of O. lycopersici and Erysiphe aquilegiae. This suggests that some powdery mildew taxa are more variable at the ITS level than others. Thus, although the ITS sequences determined by direct sequencing represent robust data useful in delimitation and phylogenetic analysis of distinct species of the Erysiphales, these need to be used with precaution, and preferably determined after cloning, especially when dealing with closely related taxa at species and sub-species levels. With this method a hitherto undetected genetic diversity of powdery mildews can be revealed.
KeywordsErysiphales GenBank ITS polymorphism paralogue sequences
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