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Keywords:

  • chickpea;
  • Cicer arietinum;
  • evolutionary origin;
  • fusarium wilt

Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. ciceris (Foc), the causal agent of fusarium wilt of chickpea, consists of two pathotypes (yellowing and wilting) and eight races (races 0, 1B/C, 1A and 2–6) of diverse geographical distribution. Six Foc isolates, one each of races 0, 1B/C, 1A, 4, 5 and 6, representing the two pathotypes and the geographical range of the pathogen, showed identical sequences in introns of the genes for translation elongation factor 1α (EF1α), β-tubulin, histone 3, actin and calmodulin. Eleven additional Foc isolates representative of all races, pathotypes and geographical range, and three isolates of F. oxysporum (Fo) nonpathogenic to chickpea were further analysed for sequence variation in the EF1α gene. All isolates pathogenic to chickpeas shared an identical EF1α gene sequence, which differed from that shared by the three Fo isolates nonpathogenic to chickpea. EF1α gene sequences from the 17 Foc isolates and the three Fo isolates were compared with 24 EF1α gene sequences in GenBank from isolates of 11 formae speciales of F. oxysporum by parsimony analysis. Foc isolates formed a grouping distinct from other formae speciales and nonpathogenic isolates. These results indicate that F. oxysporum f. sp. ciceris is monophyletic.