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Nat Commun. 2019 Nov 7;10(1):5068. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-12927-7.

Emergence of the Ug99 lineage of the wheat stem rust pathogen through somatic hybridisation.

Author information

1
Department of Plant Pathology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN, 55108, USA.
2
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Agriculture and Food, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
3
Biological Data Science Institute, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
4
Leidos Biomedical Research, Frederick, MD, 21702, USA.
5
The George Washington University, Washington, DC, 20052, USA.
6
Pairwise, Durham, NC, 27709, USA.
7
Minnesota Supercomputing Institute, Minneapolis, MN, 55455, USA.
8
University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, 9301, Free State, South Africa.
9
Research School of Biology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
10
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Agriculture and Food, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia. peter.dodds@csiro.au.
11
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Agriculture and Food, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia. melania.figueroa@csiro.au.

Abstract

Parasexuality contributes to diversity and adaptive evolution of haploid (monokaryotic) fungi. However, non-sexual genetic exchange mechanisms are not defined in dikaryotic fungi (containing two distinct haploid nuclei). Newly emerged strains of the wheat stem rust pathogen, Puccinia graminis f. sp. tritici (Pgt), such as Ug99, are a major threat to global food security. Here, we provide genomics-based evidence supporting that Ug99 arose by somatic hybridisation and nuclear exchange between dikaryons. Fully haplotype-resolved genome assembly and DNA proximity analysis reveal that Ug99 shares one haploid nucleus genotype with a much older African lineage of Pgt, with no recombination or chromosome reassortment. These findings indicate that nuclear exchange between dikaryotes can generate genetic diversity and facilitate the emergence of new lineages in asexual fungal populations.

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