Reproductive mode of central European Fusarium graminearum and F. culmorum populations
Fusarium head blight caused mainly by Fusarium graminearum and F. culmorum is the most important disease of wheat in Central Europe. While F. graminearum is homothallic, no sexual cycle has been observed in F. culmorum. Knowledge regarding the species distribution and population structure of these pathogens is important to estimate their significance for breeding. There are two fundamental means by which fungi and other organisms transmit genes to the next generation: through clonal reproduction or by sexual recombination. To clarify the population structures of F. culmorum and F. graminearum in Central Europe, RAPD and IGS-RFLP data sets of the isolates were subjected to both the index of association tests and tree length tests. Our data indicate that the world-wide F. graminearum and F. culmorum populations have recombining structures, while both the Hungarian F. culmorum and F. graminearum populations reproduce clonally. The frequent occurrence of F. graminearum perithecia on corn residues indicates that this species undergoes a sexual cycle. Both mating type genes have been identified in each examined F. graminearum isolate, while the heterothallic distribution of mating type genes in F. culmorum indicates that this species lost its sexual cycle relatively recently.
KeywordsF. graminearum F. culmorum population structure mating type genes RAPD IGS-RFLP
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