Measuring Immigration and Sexual Reproduction in Field Populations of Mycosphaerella graminicola

Phytopathology. 1998 Dec;88(12):1330-7. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO.1998.88.12.1330.


ABSTRACT A field experiment was conducted to determine the relative contributions of immigration and sexual reproduction to the genetic structure of Mycosphaerella graminicola populations during the course of an epidemic. The genetic structure of M. graminicola populations sampled from wheat plots inoculated artificially with 10 isolates was compared with control plots infected naturally by airborne ascospores. Restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLPs) were used to test the randomness of associations among loci, and DNA fingerprints were used to identify clones. All isolates in the control plots had unique genotypes and RFLP loci were at gametic equilibrium, findings consistent with random mating. The proportion of isolates in the inoculated plots with DNA fingerprints that differed from the 10 inoculated isolates increased from 3% in the early to 39 and 34% in the mid- and late season, respectively. The degree of gametic disequilibrium was higher in the mid-season than in the late-season population. By the end of the growing season, we estimate that 66% of the isolates in the inoculated plots were asexual progeny of the 10 inoculated isolates, 10% were immigrants, and 24% were sexual recombinants. The proportion of infections caused by ascospores increased over the growing season.