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J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Oct 6;52(20):6341-6.

Patterns of trichothecene production, genetic variability, and virulence to wheat of Fusarium graminearum from smallholder farms in Nepal.

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  • 1Mycotoxin Research, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Peoria, IL 61604, USA.


Fusarium graminearum causes wheat head blight and contaminates grain with the trichothecenes 4-deoxynivalenol and nivalenol. Sequence analysis of trichothecene genes indicates that nivalenol production is the ancestral trait; however, deoxynivalenol producers occur worldwide and predominate in North and South America and in Europe. Analysis of a large field population (>500 strains) from Nepal identified three groups that were both genetically distinct and polymorphic for trichothecene production: SCAR1 comprising 95% deoxynivalenol producers, SCAR2 comprising 94% nivalenol producers, and SCAR3/5 comprising 34% deoxynivalenol producers/63% nivalenol producers. The ability to cause wheat head blight differed between SCAR groups and trichothecene chemotypes: deoxynivalenol producers were more virulent than nivalenol producers across all three SCAR groups and within the SCAR3/5 genetic background. These data support the hypothesis that production of deoxynivalenol rather than nivalenol confers a selective advantage to this important wheat pathogen.

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