Analysis of the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationships of Biscogniauxia mediterranea isolates associated with cork oak
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Biscogniauxia mediterranea is one of the most frequent fungal pathogens involved in cork oak decline in the Mediterranean Basin, causing charcoal canker. In Portugal, this disease is widespread on adult declining trees but nowadays it increasingly affects young trees and exhibits atypical symptoms, leading to the hypothesis that some change in the fungus may have occurred. In order to evaluate the genetic diversity and phylogenetic relationship of B. mediterranea associated with cork oak, 102 isolates were obtained from young and adult trees of Quercus suber and other hosts species with different disease expression, from several Mediterranean countries. The collection of isolates was analyzed by individual and multigene phylogenies using Maximum-Likelihood approach based on nucleotide sequences of the internal transcribed spacers of ribosomal DNA, translation elongation factor 1-α and β-tubulin genes, and by microsatellite-primed PCR profiles. Sequence analyses separated the Mediterranean isolates from those from other regions, while MSP-PCR analysis revealed relevant but unstructured diversity among the Mediterranean isolates under study, making this a monophyletic but diverse population. Considering the adaptive capacity of the fungus in the Mediterranean-climate ecosystems and the present climatic change scenario, all conditions are gathered to favor aggravation of the disease in cork oak stands.
KeywordsCharcoal canker intraspecific variability Mediterranean ecosystem Quercus suber
Authors are grateful to everyone who contributed to the sample collection and to Professor Manuel Mota for this manuscript revision. This research was partially supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, Portugal (grant number SFRH/BD/46787/2008).
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Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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