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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2005;43:171-90.

The biology of Phytophthora infestans at its center of origin.

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  • 1Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Corvallis, Oregon 97330, USA.


The central highlands of Mexico are considered to be a center of genetic diversity for both the potato late blight pathogen and for tuber-bearing Solanum spp. Recent work conducted in Mexico and South America sheds new light on the biology and evolution of Phytophthora infestans and other related Phytophthora pathogens. It now appears that Mexican Solanum species, which coevolved with P. infestans and were previously known for providing a source of R-genes, also provide a source of quantitative, rate-reducing resistance that is highly effective, stable, and durable. It is now apparent that Mexico is the center of origin not only of the potato late blight pathogen P. infestans, but also of several related Phytophthora species including P. mirabilis, P. ipomoeae, and possibly P. phaseoli. We close with the hypothesis that these Phytophthora species evolved sympatrically from one ancestral host through adaptive radiation onto their respective four host families.

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