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.
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