Divergent evolution of two populations within a lineage of the hybrid fungal oilseed rape pathogen Verticillium longisporum

J.R.L. Depotter, M.F. Seidl, G.C.M. van den Berg, B.P.H.J. Thomma, Thomas Wood

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Population genetic structures represent evolutionary trajectories of organisms while they adapt to differential environmental conditions. Here, pathogen populations are additionally shaped by their host, as co-evolution between pathogen and host can lead to corresponding genetic co-structuring. Verticillium stem striping is a relatively new disease of oilseed rape that was mainly observed in continental Europe, but has recently expanded to other countries including the UK. Verticillium stem striping is caused by the hybrid fungal species Verticillium longisporum that originates from at least three separate hybridization events. Strains from the hybridization event between Verticillium species A1 and D1 are predominantly responsible for Verticillium stem striping. In this study, the population structure of V. longisporum lineage A1/D1 was investigated. Multi-locus genotype analysis revealed a hitherto un-described dichotomy that correlates with the geographic origin of the isolates. The genetic clusters are provisionally called “A1/D1 West” and “A1/D1 East” according to their relative location in Europe. Whereas A1/D1 East is the dominant population in Germany and Sweden, where Verticillium stem striping already occurs since the 1960s, the distribution of A1/D1 West reaches further than Europe, with isolates found in the USA and Japan. Genome comparison between representatives of the A1/D1 West and East clusters confirmed their mutual origin, excluding putative distinctiveness through separate hybridizations. An A1/D1 West population caused the sudden rise of Verticillium stem striping in the UK. Remarkably, the genetic diversity of the UK isolates was higher than that of the whole A1/D1 East cluster. Conceivably, the lower genetic variation within A1/D1 East indicates a founder effect, where A1/D1 West is the original population and A1/D1 East a founder population. A1/D1 East may have been able to establish by its initial capacity to cause Verticillium stem striping disease on oilseed rape, whereas A1/D1 West, until recently, occurred only on alternative hosts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAbstract Book 29th Fungal Genetics Conference Asilomar 17, Pacific Grove, CA, USA 14-19 March 2017
PublisherGenetics Society of America
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2017
Event29th Fungal Genetics Conference - Asilomar Conference Center, Pacific Grove, CA, United States
Duration: 14 Mar 201719 Mar 2017


Conference29th Fungal Genetics Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityPacific Grove, CA
Internet address


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