An adaptive evolutionary shift in Fusarium head blight pathogen populations is driving the rapid spread of more toxigenic Fusarium graminearum in North America

Todd J. Ward, Randall M. Clear, Alejandro P. Rooney, Kerry O'Donnell, Don Gaba, Susan Patrick, David E. Starkey, Jeannie Gilbert, David Michael Geiser, Tom W. Nowicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

319 Scopus citations

Abstract

Analysis of Fusarium head blight (FHB) pathogen diversity revealed that 3ADON producing Fusarium graminearum are prevalent in North America and identified significant population structure associated with trichothecene chemotype differences (FST > 0.285; P < 0.001). In addition, we identified a trichothecene chemotype cline in Canada and documented a recent and significant shift in FHB pathogen composition by demonstrating that the 3ADON chemotype frequency in western Canada increased more than 14-fold between 1998 and 2004. On average, isolates from 3ADON populations produced significantly (P < 0.05) more trichothecene and had significantly (P < 0.005) higher fecundity and growth rates than isolates from the 15ADON population. These results indicate that selection is driving the rapid spread of an introduced pathogen population that is more toxigenic and potentially more vigorous. The discovery of this previously unrecognized pathogen diversity has significant implications for food safety and cereal production in North America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-484
Number of pages12
JournalFungal Genetics and Biology
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Genetics

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