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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2009 May;75(10):3289-95. doi: 10.1128/AEM.02287-08. Epub 2009 Mar 20.

Genetic diversity and fitness of Fusarium graminearum populations from rice in Korea.

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  • 1Department of Agricultural Biotechnology and Center for Fungal Pathogenesis, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-921, Republic of Korea.


Fusarium graminearum is an important fungal pathogen of cereal crops and produces mycotoxins, such as the trichothecenes nivalenol and deoxynivalenol. This species may be subdivided into a series of genetic lineages or phylogenetic species. We identified strains of F. graminearum from the Republic of Korea to lineage, tested their ability to produce nivalenol and deoxynivalenol, and determined the genetic composition and structure of the populations from which they were recovered. Based on amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), PCR genotyping, and chemical analyses of trichothecenes, all 249 isolates from southern provinces belonged to lineage 6, with 241 having the nivalenol genotype and 8 having the deoxynivalenol genotype. In the eastern Korea province, we recovered 84 lineage 6 isolates with the nivalenol genotype and 23 lineage 7 isolates with the deoxynivalenol genotype. Among 333 lineage 6 isolates, 36% of the AFLP bands were polymorphic, and there were 270 multilocus haplotypes. Genetic identity among populations was high (>0.972), and genotype diversity was low (30 to 58%). To test the adaptation of lineage 6 to rice, conidial mixtures of strains from lineages 3, 6, and 7 were inoculated onto rice plants and then recovered from the rice grains produced. Strains representing lineages 6 and 7 were recovered from inoculated spikelets at similar frequencies that were much higher than those for the strain representing lineage 3. Abundant perithecia were produced on rice straw, and 247 single-ascospore isolates were recovered from 247 perithecia. Perithecia representing lineage 6 (87%) were the most common, followed by those representing lineage 7 (13%), with perithecia representing lineage 3 not detected. These results suggest that F. graminearum lineage 6 may have a host preference for rice and that it may be more fit in a rice agroecosystem than are the other lineages present in Korea.

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