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Keywords:

  • gametic disequilibrium;
  • genetic diversity;
  • genetic drift;
  • population differentiation;
  • septoria tritici blotch;
  • Triticum aestivum

To provide insight into the genetic structure of Mycosphaerella graminicola populations in Iran, a total of 221 isolates were collected from naturally infected wheat fields of five major wheat-growing provinces and analysed using AFLP markers and mating-type loci. All populations showed intermediate to high genotypic diversity. In the Golestan and Ardabil populations two mating types were found at near-equal frequencies, whilst all populations were in gametic disequilibrium. Moreover, clonal haplotypes were identified in different sampling sites within a field in both the Khuzestan and Fars provinces, demonstrating that pycnidia are probably the primary source of inoculum. All five populations had low levels of gene diversity and had private bands. Low levels of gene flow and high genetic differentiation were observed among populations and different clustering methods revealed five genetically distinct groups in accordance with the sampling areas. The Golestan and East Azarbaijan populations were more genetically differentiated than the others. Random genetic drift, selection and geographic barriers may account for the differentiation of the populations. The results of this study indicate a population structure of M. graminicola in Iran contrasting to that of most other countries studied.