Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS Pathog. 2009 Sep;5(9):e1000583. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000583. Epub 2009 Sep 18.

Population genetic analysis infers migration pathways of Phytophthora ramorum in US nurseries.

Author information

  • 1Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, USDA ARS, Corvallis, Oregon, USA.


Recently introduced, exotic plant pathogens may exhibit low genetic diversity and be limited to clonal reproduction. However, rapidly mutating molecular markers such as microsatellites can reveal genetic variation within these populations and be used to model putative migration patterns. Phytophthora ramorum is the exotic pathogen, discovered in the late 1990s, that is responsible for sudden oak death in California forests and ramorum blight of common ornamentals. The nursery trade has moved this pathogen from source populations on the West Coast to locations across the United States, thus risking introduction to other native forests. We examined the genetic diversity of P. ramorum in United States nurseries by microsatellite genotyping 279 isolates collected from 19 states between 2004 and 2007. Of the three known P. ramorum clonal lineages, the most common and genetically diverse lineage in the sample was NA1. Two eastward migration pathways were revealed in the clustering of NA1 isolates into two groups, one containing isolates from Connecticut, Oregon, and Washington and the other isolates from California and the remaining states. This finding is consistent with trace forward analyses conducted by the US Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. At the same time, genetic diversities in several states equaled those observed in California, Oregon, and Washington and two-thirds of multilocus genotypes exhibited limited geographic distributions, indicating that mutation was common during or subsequent to migration. Together, these data suggest that migration, rapid mutation, and genetic drift all play a role in structuring the genetic diversity of P. ramorum in US nurseries. This work demonstrates that fast-evolving genetic markers can be used to examine the evolutionary processes acting on recently introduced pathogens and to infer their putative migration patterns, thus showing promise for the application of forensics to plant pathogens.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk