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Genetic Composition of Phytophthora infestans in Canada Reveals Migration and Increased Diversity

Kalischuk, Melanie L., Al-Mughrabi, Khalil I., Peters, Rick D., Howard, Ron J., Platt, H. W. (Bud), Kawchuk, Lawrence M.
Plant disease 2012 v.96 no.12 pp. 1729-1735
Phytophthora infestans, asexual reproduction, gardens, genotype, mating types, metalaxyl, pathogens, phenotype, potatoes, restriction fragment length polymorphism, seed tubers, sexual reproduction, tomatoes, weather, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, United States
A dramatic increase in the incidence of late blight and changes within populations of Phytophthora infestans have been observed in various regions of Canada. In this study, the occurrence of several new genotypes of the pathogen was documented with associated phenotypes that dominated pathogen populations. Genotype US-23, previously detected only among isolates from the United States, dominated in the western Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta (AB), Saskatchewan, and Manitoba (MB). Although isolates of US-23 infect both potato and tomato, these isolates were the only genotype recovered from commercial garden centers in Canada. Isolates of genotype US-8, previously dominant throughout Canada, represented the only genotype detected from the eastern Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Isolates of other genotypes detected in Canada included US-11 in AB, US-24 in MB, and US-22 in Ontario (ON). An additional genotype was detected in ON which appears to be a derivative of US-22 that may have arisen through sexual reproduction. However, evidence of clonal reproduction dominated among the isolates collected, and opportunities for sexual reproduction were probably limited because of a surprising geographic separation of the A1 and A2 mating types in Canada. Sensitivity of the US-22, US-23, and US-24 isolates to the fungicide metalaxyl, movement of potato seed and transplants, and weather conditions may have contributed to reduced opportunities for contact between the mating types in fields in Canada. All P. infestans isolates were readily distinguished from other related oomycetes with RG57 restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Long-distance movement in seed tubers and garden center transplants may have contributed to the rapid spread of the P. infestans genotypes across Canada. Tracking pathogen movement and population composition should improve the ability to predict the genotypes expected each year in different regions of Canada.