Comparative Genomic Analysis of 31 Phytophthora Genomes Reveals Genome Plasticity and Horizontal Gene Transfer

Brent A. Kronmiller, Nicolas Feau, Danyu Shen, Javier F. Tabima, Shahin S. Ali, Andrew D. Armitage, Felipe Arredondo, Bryan A. Bailey, Stephanie R. Bollmann, Angela Dale, Richard J. Harrison, Kelly Hrywkiw, Takao Kasuga, Rebecca McDougal, Charlotte F. Nellist, Preeti Panda, Sucheta Tripathy, Nari M. Williams, Wenwu Ye, Yuanchao WangRichard C. Hamelin, Niklaus J. Grünwald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Phytophthora species are oomycete plant pathogens that cause great economic and ecological impacts. The Phytophthora genus includes over 180 known species, infecting a wide range of plant hosts, including crops, trees, and ornamentals. We sequenced the genomes of 31 individual Phytophthora species and 24 individual transcriptomes to study genetic relationships across the genus. De novo genome assemblies revealed variation in genome sizes, numbers of predicted genes, and in repetitive element content across the Phytophthora genus. A genus-wide comparison evaluated orthologous groups of genes. Predicted effector gene counts varied across Phytophthora species by effector family, genome size, and plant host range. Predicted numbers of apoplastic effectors increased as the host range of Phytophthora species increased. Predicted numbers of cytoplasmic effectors also increased with host range but leveled off or decreased in Phytophthora species that have enormous host ranges. With extensive sequencing across the Phytophthora genus, we now have the genomic resources to evaluate horizontal gene transfer events across the oomycetes. Using a machine-learning approach to identify horizontally transferred genes with bacterial or fungal origin, we identified 44 candidates over 36 Phytophthora species genomes. Phylogenetic reconstruction indicates that the transfers of most of these 44 candidates happened in parallel to major advances in the evolution of the oomycetes and Phytophthora spp. We conclude that the 31 genomes presented here are essential for investigating genus-wide genomic associations in genus Phytophthora. [Formula: see text]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-46
Number of pages21
JournalMolecular plant-microbe interactions : MPMI
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • effectors
  • horizontal gene transfer
  • oomycete plant pathogens
  • Phytophthora


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