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Evidence for Genetic Similarity of Vegetative Compatibility Groupings in Sclerotinia homoeocarpa.

The plant pathology journal (2014-12-17)
Seog Won Chang, Young-Ki Jo, Taehyun Chang, Geunhwa Jung
ABSTRACT

Vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs) are determined for many fungi to test for the ability of fungal isolates to undergo heterokaryon formation. In several fungal plant pathogens, isolates belonging to a VCG have been shown to share significantly higher genetic similarity than those of different VCGs. In this study we sought to examine the relationship between VCG and genetic similarity of an important cool season turfgrass pathogen, Sclerotinia homoeocarpa. Twenty-two S. homoeocarpa isolates from the Midwest and Eastern US, which were previously characterized in several studies, were all evaluated for VCG using an improved nit mutant assay. These isolates were also genotyped using 19 microsatellites developed from partial genome sequence of S. homoeocarpa. Additionally, partial sequences of mitochondrial genes cytochrome oxidase II and mitochondrial small subunit (mtSSU) rRNA, and the atp6-rns intergenic spacer, were generated for isolates from each nit mutant VCG to determine if mitochondrial haplotypes differed among VCGs. Of the 22 isolates screened, 15 were amenable to the nit mutant VCG assay and were grouped into six VCGs. The 19 microsatellites gave 57 alleles for this set. Unweighted pair group methods with arithmetic mean (UPGMA) tree of binary microsatellite data were used to produce a dendrogram of the isolate genotypes based on microsatellite alleles, which showed high genetic similarity of nit mutant VCGs. Analysis of molecular variance of microsatellite data demonstrates that the current nit mutant VCGs explain the microsatellite genotypic variation among isolates better than the previous nit mutant VCGs or the conventionally determined VCGs. Mitochondrial sequences were identical among all isolates, suggesting that this marker type may not be informative for US populations of S. homoeocarpa.

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