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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Diversity, migration routes, and worldwide population genetic structure of Lecanosticta acicola, the causal agent of brown spot needle blight

Laas, Marili; Adamson, Kalev; Barnes, Irene; Janousek, Josef; Mullett, Martin S.; Adamcikova, Katarina; Akiba, Mitsuteru; Beenken, Ludwig; Braganca, Helena; Bulgakov, Timur S.; Capretti, Paolo; Cech, Thomas; Cleary, Michelle; Enderle, Rasmus; Ghelardini, Luisa; Jankovsky, Libor; Markovskaja, Svetlana; Matsiakh, Iryna; Meyer, Joana B.; Oskay, Funda;
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Lecanosticta acicola is a pine needle pathogen causing brown spot needle blight that results in premature needle shedding with considerable damage described in North America, Europe, and Asia. Microsatellite and mating type markers were used to study the population genetics, migration history, and reproduction mode of the pathogen, based on a collection of 650 isolates from 27 countries and 26 hosts across the range of L. acicola. The presence of L. acicola in Georgia was confirmed in this study. Migration analyses indicate there have been several introduction events from North America into Europe. However, some of the source populations still appear to remain unknown. The populations in Croatia and western Asia appear to originate from genetically similar populations in North America. Intercontinental movement of the pathogen was reflected in an identical haplotype occurring on two continents, in North America (Canada) and Europe (Germany). Several shared haplotypes between European populations further suggests more local pathogen movement between countries. Moreover, migration analyses indicate that the populations in northern Europe originate from more established populations in central Europe. Overall, the highest genetic diversity was observed in south-eastern USA. In Europe, the highest diversity was observed in France, where the presence of both known pathogen lineages was recorded. Less than half of the observed populations contained mating types in equal proportions. Although there is evidence of some sexual reproduction taking place, the pathogen spreads predominantly asexually and through anthropogenic activity.


forest pathology; introduction pathways; invasive pathogen; mating type; microsatellites; Mycosphaerella dearnessii; Pinus

Published in

Molecular Plant Pathology

Publisher: WILEY

Authors' information

Laas, Marili
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Adamson, Kalev
Estonian University of Life Sciences
Barnes, Irene
University of Pretoria
Janousek, Josef
Mendel University in Brno
Mullett, Martin S.
Mendel University in Brno
Adamcikova, Katarina
Slovak Academy of Sciences
Akiba, Mitsuteru
Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute - Japan
Beenken, Ludwig
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research
Braganca, Helena
Instituto Nacional de Investigacao Agraria e Veterinaria, IP (INIAV)
Bulgakov, Timur S.
Russian Academy of Sciences
Capretti, Paolo
University of Florence
Cech, Thomas
Austrian Research Centre for Forests (BFW)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Enderle, Rasmus
Julius Kuhn-Institut
Ghelardini, Luisa
University of Florence
Jankovsky, Libor
Mendel University in Brno
Markovskaja, Svetlana
Nature Research Center - Lithuania
Matsiakh, Iryna
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Matsiakh, Iryna
Ukrainian National Forestry University
National Forestry Agency of Georgia
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UKÄ Subject classification

Agricultural Science

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