Genetic Structure of the Population of Phytophthora infestans Attacking Solanum ochranthum in the Highlands of Ecuador uri icon

abstract

  • Thirty-nine isolates of Phytophthora infestans were collected from the wild host Solanum ochranthum in the highland tropics of Ecuador and characterized with a set of phenotypic and molecular markers (mating type, metalaxyl sensitivity, the allozyme loci Gpi, and Pep, mitochondrial DNA haplotype, RFLP, and SSR), as well as for pathogenicity on various hosts. Three groups of isolates (A, B, and C) were identified based on their multilocus genotypes and variable abilities to cause disease on different hosts. Group A had a combination of alleles for the Gpi (86/100), Pep (96/100) and mtDNA (Ia) loci, as well as an RFLP fingerprint, that have not been reported for P. infestans in Ecuador, or elsewhere. Group B shares many marker characteristics with the US-1 lineage described in Ecuador on tomato, pear melon (S. muricatum), and S. caripense, but has SSR alleles not present in typical US-1 isolates. Group C for all markers tested is identical to the EC-1 lineage described on cultivated and wild potatoes in Ecuador. All isolates from S. ochranthum were able to re-infect their host of origin in the detached leaf assay; however, we did not draw clear conclusions as to the relative aggressiveness of the three groups on this host. Isolates of group A were the most specialized and were generally non-pathogenic or weakly pathogenic on all hosts other than S. ochranthum. Groups B and C infected tuber-bearing hosts, including the cultivated potato but were generally non-pathogenic on other non-tuber bearing hosts. Solanum ochranthum was infected by isolates coming from tuber-bearing Solanum hosts (i.e., the EC-1 lineage of P. infestans) and some US-1 isolates from non-tuber bearing hosts. Thus, in nature this species might be a potential reservoir of inoculum of different pathogen populations able to infect the cultivated hosts potato, tomato and pear melon (S.muricatum). Unlike potato and tomato in Ecuador, each of which is primarily attacked by a highly specialized pathogen population, S. ochranthum appears to harbour at least three pathogen groups of different genetic make-up. The unresolved issue of potential host specificity in isolates found on S. ochranthum could complicate efforts to use this species in tomato improvement.

publication date

  • 2006
  • 2006