Send to

Choose Destination
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Mar 20;104(12):4979-83. Epub 2007 Mar 14.

Phylogenetic signal in plant pathogen-host range.

Author information

Environmental Studies Department, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.


What determines which plant species are susceptible to a given plant pathogen is poorly understood. Experimental inoculations with fungal pathogens of plant leaves in a tropical rain forest show that most fungal pathogens are polyphagous but that most plant species in a local community are resistant to any given pathogen. The likelihood that a pathogen can infect two plant species decreases continuously with phylogenetic distance between the plants, even to ancient evolutionary distances. This phylogenetic signal in host range allows us to predict the likely host range of plant pathogens in a local community, providing an important tool for plant ecology, design of agronomic systems, quarantine regulations in international trade, and risk analysis of biological control agents. In particular, the results suggest that the rate of spread and ecological impacts of a disease through a natural plant community will depend strongly on the phylogenetic structure of the community itself and that current regulatory approaches strongly underestimate the local risks of global movement of plant pathogens or their hosts.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center