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Genetics. 1996 Apr;142(4):1119-27.

Sexual reproduction plays a major role in the genetic structure of populations of the fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola.

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  • 1Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843-2132, USA.


The relative contributions of sexual and asexual reproduction to the genetic structure of populations can be difficult to determine for fungi that use a mixture of both types of propagation. Nuclear RFLPs and DNA fingerprints were used to make indirect and direct measures of departures from random mating in a population of the plant pathogenic fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola during the course of an epidemic cycle. DNA fingerprints resolved 617 different genotypes among 673 isolates sampled from a single field over a 3-month period. Only 7% of the isolates represented asexual clones that were found more than once in the sample. The most common clone was found four times. Genotypic diversity averaged 85% of its maximum possible value during the course of the epidemic. Analyses of multilocus structure showed that allelic distributions among RFLP loci were independent. Pairwise comparisons between individual RFLP loci showed that the majority of alleles at these loci were in gametic equilibrium. Though this fungus has the capacity for a significant level of asexual reproduction, each analysis suggested that M. graminicola populations maintain a genetic structure more consistent with random-mating over the course of an epidemic cycle.

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