Reconstructing and characterizing introduction routes is a key step towards understanding the ecological and evolutionary factors underlying successful invasions and disease emergence. Here, we aimed to decipher scenarios of introduction and stochastic demographic events associated with the global spread of an emerging disease of bananas caused by the destructive fungal pathogen Mycosphaerella fijiensis. We analysed the worldwide population structure of this fungus using 21 microsatellites and 8 sequence-based markers on 735 individuals from 37 countries. Our analyses designated South-East Asia as the source of the global invasion and supported the location of the centre of origin of M. fijiensis within this area. We confirmed the occurrence of bottlenecks upon introduction into other continents followed by widespread founder events within continents. Furthermore, this study suggested contrasting introduction scenarios of the pathogen between the African and American continents. While potential signatures of admixture resulting from multiple introductions were detected in America, all the African samples examined seem to descend from a single successful founder event. In combination with historical information, our study reveals an original and unprecedented global scenario of invasion for this recently emerging disease caused by a wind-dispersed pathogen.
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