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Toxins (Basel). 2011 Aug;3(8):1020-37. doi: 10.3390/toxins3081020. Epub 2011 Aug 19.

Population structure and genetic diversity of the Fusarium graminearum species complex.

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Molecular Biotechnology Laboratory of Triticeae Crops, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, Hubei, China.


The Fusarium graminearum species complex (Fg complex) consists of phylogenetically distinct species some of which cannot be discriminated based on their morphology. Their chemotypes and geographic distributions are dramatically different, and these highlight the challenges that Fusarium head blight (FHB) poses to plant disease specialists and plant breeders, thereby requiring that quarantine officials employ molecular diagnostic tools in their active surveillance programs. Molecular marker technologies play essential roles in species identification of the Fg complex, and they are being used widely to assess the genetic diversity of the clade. The utility, applicability and limitations of molecular methods for assessing the population structure and genetic diversity within the Fg complex are discussed with suitable examples. Knowledge gained from these studies will provide a baseline for monitoring changes in FHB pathogen diversity and mycotoxin potential over time, both of which are critical to the ultimate control and elimination of this economically devastating disease.


population structure; Fusarium graminearum species complex; chemotype; genetic diversity; geographic distribution

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