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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Evaluating the contribution of historical and contemporary temperature to the oospore production of self-fertile Phytophthora infestans

Waheed, Abdul; Shen, Lin-Lin; Nkurikiyimfura, Oswald; Fang, Han-Mei; Wang, Yan-Ping; Andersson, Bjoern; Zhan, Jiasui; Yang, Li-Na


Reproductive systems play an important role in the ecological function of species, but little is known about how climate change, such as global warming, may affect the reproductive systems of microbes. In this study, 116 Phytophthora infestans isolates sampled from five different altitudes along a mountain were evaluated under five temperature regimes to determine the effects of historical and experimental temperature on the reproductive system of the pathogen. Both altitude, a proxy for historical pathogen adaptation to temperature, and temperature used in the experiment affected the sexual reproduction of the pathogen, with experimental temperature, that is, contemporary temperature, playing a role several times more important than historical temperature. Furthermore, the potential of sexual reproduction, measured by the number of oospores quantified, increased with the temperature breadth (i.e., difference between the highest and lowest temperature at which sexual reproduction takes place) of the pathogen and reached the maximum at the experimental temperature of 21(degrees)C, which is higher than the annual average temperature in many potato-producing areas. The results suggest that rising air temperature associated with global warming may increase the potential of sexual reproduction in P. infestans. Given the importance of sexuality in pathogenicity and ecological adaptation of pathogens, these results suggest that global warming may increase the threat of P. infestans to agricultural production and other ecological services and highlight that new epidemiological strategies may need to be implemented for future food security and ecological resilience.


adaptation; agriculture; climate change; ecological genetics; evolution of sex; microbial biology

Published in

Evolutionary applications
2024, Volume: 17, number: 1, article number: e13643
Publisher: WILEY