In a study of vegetative compatibility in Verticillium dahliae in the Netherlands, a collection of 45 isolates including representatives from woody hosts, several horticultural crops and from the soil of potato fields was examined. In addition an effort was made to compare vegetative compatibility groups (VCGs) from different countries. The results of this study indicate that VCG diversity in V. dahliae in the Netherlands is limited. Only two VCGs were detected: VCG NL-I and VCG NL-II. The former is the predominant VCG for isolates from tree hosts. However, Verticillium wilt in trees can be caused by isolates from both VCGs. It is suggested that the predominance of VCG NL-I in tree hosts is the result of the origin of the tree and the cropping history of its growing site, rather than trees being preferential hosts for isolates from this VCG. Comparison of VCG testers from the Netherlands, from several other European countries and from the USA show that in Europe two major VCGs are present. The first one, including NL-I, is compatible with USA VCG 3 and VCG 4, whereas the second one, including NL-II, is compatible with USA VCG 1 and VCG 2. These groups are not completely separated; in some cases, testers formed heterokaryons with VCG testers from both main groups. Because of the presence of these bridge isolates and because mutants from the same isolate differ in ability to form heterokaryons, it is emphasised that careful selection of isolate testers is an essential step to get a clear picture of VCG diversity.
- tester strains