The chestnut blight fungus world tour: successive introduction events from diverse origins in an invasive plant fungal pathogen


Cyril Dutech, Fax: 33 + 5 57 12 28 81;


Clonal expansion has been observed in several invasive fungal plant pathogens colonizing new areas, raising the question of the origin of clonal lineages. Using microsatellite markers, we retraced the evolutionary history of introduction of the chestnut blight fungus, Cryphonectria parasitica, in North America and western Europe. Combining discriminant analysis of principal components and approximate Bayesian computation analysis, we showed that several introduction events from genetically differentiated source populations have occurred in both invaded areas. In addition, a low signal of genetic recombination among different source populations was suggested in North America. Finally, two genetic lineages were present in both invaded areas as well as in the native areas, suggesting the existence of genetic lineages with a high capacity to establish in diverse environments and host species. This study confirmed the importance of multiple introductions, but questioned the role of genetic admixture in the success of introduction of a fungal plant pathogen.