The interaction among evolutionary forces in the pathogenic fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola

Fungal Genet Biol. 2004 Jun;41(6):590-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fgb.2004.01.006.


The population genetic dynamic of a species is driven by interactions among mutation, migration, drift, mating system, and selection, but it is rare to have sufficient empirical data to estimate values for all of these forces and to allow comparison of the relative magnitudes of these evolutionary forces. We combined data from a mark-release-recapture experiment, extensive population surveys, and computer simulations to evaluate interactions among these evolutionary forces in the pathogenic fungus Mycosphaerella graminicola. The results from these studies showed that, on average, the immigration rate was 0.027, the fraction of outcrossing individuals was 0.035, and the selection coefficient associated with immigrants was 0.106 each generation. We also estimated that effective population sizes for this fungus were larger than 24,000 and the mutation rate for the RFLP markers used in surveys and field experiments was approximately 4 x 10(-5). Computer simulations based on these estimates indicate that, on average, the global population of M. graminicola has reached equilibrium. Population genetic parameters including number of alleles, gene diversity, and population subdivision estimated from the computer simulations were surprisingly close to empirical estimates. Simulations also revealed that random drift is the major evolutionary force decreasing genetic variation in this fungus, followed by natural selection. The major force adding to genetic variation was mutation, followed by gene flow and sexual recombination. Gene flow played the leading role in decreasing population subdivision while natural selection was the major factor increasing population subdivision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Ascomycota / genetics*
  • Ascomycota / pathogenicity
  • Computer Simulation
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation*
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Plant Leaves / microbiology
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Triticum / microbiology*