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Mycopathologia. 2004 Apr;157(3):317-26.

Intraspecific diversity within Diaporthe helianthi: evidence from rDNA intergenic spacer (IGS) sequence analysis.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Coltivazione e Difesa delle Specie Legnose G. Scaramuzzi--Sez. Patologia Vegetale, Universit√† degli Studi di Pisa, Via del Borghetto 80, I-56124 Pisa, Italy. specchia@agr.unipi.it


Diaporthe helianthi is the causal agent of sunflower stem canker, a serious pathogen of sunflower in Europe but recorded sporadically in Italy. The genetic diversity of D. helianthi isolates from different geographic origins (Argentina, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Romania) was investigated using IGS sequences. A 400 bp fragment of the portion of the IGS region flanking the 5' end of the 18S gene was amplified from each isolate. The aligned nucleotide sequences showed intraspecific sequence homology from 99-100% among French/Yugoslavian isolates to 95-100% among Italian isolates. French/Yugoslavian isolates shared 90-92% sequence homology with Italian isolates. The phylogenetic tree obtained from the aligned data revealed three separate groups. Group 1 included all isolates from France and former Yugoslavia and one isolate from Argentina; Group 2 included all Italian isolates and one isolate from Argentina. The most distantly related isolate was that from Romania (Group 3). The average genetic distances among isolates within Group 1 and within Group 2 were 0.22 and 3.29 respectively. The analysis showed that all isolates originating from countries where severe outbreaks of the disease are reported annually (France and former Yugoslavia) form a well defined taxon characterized by relatively low variability. This group is distinct from the group formed by isolates originating from Italy, whose variability is relatively much higher. Results obtained revealed a marked differentiation among pathogen isolates, and members of Group 1 seem not yet to have spread into Italian sunflower-growing areas.

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