• allozymes;
  • mating type;
  • metalaxyl sensitivity;
  • mitochondrial DNA haplotype;
  • potato-late blight;
  • RG57 analysis

A total of 204 isolates of Phytophthora infestans from Northern Ireland, almost all from commercial potato crops, were collected over 5 years (1998–2002). Phenotypic diversity was assessed using mating type and metalaxyl resistance; genotypic diversity was assessed using two allozyme loci (glucose-6-phosphate isomerase, Gpi, and peptidase, Pep), mitochondrial DNA haplotype and the multilocus RFLP probe RG57. All isolates were A1 mating type and Gpi 100/100. The majority were Pep 100/100, but four Pep 83/100 and six Pep 96/100 isolates were identified. Three mtDNA haplotypes were detected; haplotype IIa was the most common, but each year up to 2001 its frequency declined, with a concomitant increase in Ia isolates. Three isolates had the rare haplotype IIb, but this was only detected in 1998. Metalaxyl resistance and mtDNA haplotype were markedly associated: most haplotype Ia isolates were metalaxyl-resistant, whereas haplotype IIa was more commonly associated with metalaxyl sensitivity. Analysis of a subsample of 91 isolates revealed nine RG57 genotypes, three associated exclusively with haplotype IIa and six exclusively with haplotype Ia. The most common RG57 genotype (51% of isolates) comprised both metalaxyl-resistant and -sensitive haplotype IIa isolates. However, of haplotype Ia isolates, all metalaxyl-resistant phenotypes belonged to one of four RG57 types, one of which was the second most frequent overall (29% of isolates), while all metalaxyl-sensitive isolates belonged to one of two other types. The P. infestans population in Northern Ireland appears to consist of a limited number of clones related to, but differentiated from, the populations in mainland Britain and elsewhere in Europe.