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Phytopathology. 2009 Jun;99(6):739-49. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-99-6-0739.

Migration patterns of the emerging plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum on the West Coast of the United States of America.

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  • 1Department of Botany, Oregon State University, Corvallis 97331-2902, USA.


Phytophthora ramorum (oomycetes) is the causal agent of sudden oak death and ramorum blight on trees, shrubs, and woody ornamentals in the forests of coastal California and southwestern Oregon and in nurseries of California, Oregon, and Washington. In this study, we investigated the genetic structure of P. ramorum on the West Coast of the United States, focusing particularly on population differentiation potentially indicative of gene flow. In total, 576 isolates recovered from 2001 to 2005 were genotyped at 10 microsatellite loci. Our analyses of genetic diversity and inferences of reproductive mode confirm previous results for the Oregon and California populations, with the strong majority of the genotypes belonging to the NA1 clonal lineage and showing no evidence for sexual reproduction. The high incidence of genotypes shared among populations and the lack of genetic structure among populations show that important large-scale, interpopulation genetic exchanges have occurred. This emphasizes the importance of human activity in shaping the current structure of the P. ramorum population on the West Coast of the United States.

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