The gene flow and mode of reproduction of Dothistroma septosporum in the Czech Republic




Since 1911, dothistroma needle blight, caused by Dothistroma septosporum, has been recorded in most European countries. In the Czech Republic, the fungus has become an important disease of pines since 2000, especially Austrian pines in plantations of Christmas and ornamental trees. The aim of this study was to analyse the population structure, gene flow and mode of reproduction of this pathogen. Microsatellite and mating-type markers were analysed in a Dothistroma population in the southeastern part of the country using reference isolates from other European countries. The haplotypic diversity was high, with 87 unique and 13 shared haplotypes (probable clones) identified in 121 samples. Based on structure analysis, the isolates were divided into two populations, with an uneven distribution over the sampling sites. The grouping of the sites to the populations did not follow a geographical pattern because certain isolates that were sympatrically co-occurring at the same site were placed in different populations. Tests for random mating (the index of association and a parsimony tree-length permutation test) showed a significant clonal mode of reproduction in most cases, but the intrapopulation haplotypic diversity is unexpectedly high. Although a teleomorphic stage of D. septosporum has not been previously observed in the Czech Republic, the high intrapopulation haplotypic diversity can be explained by infrequent sexual reproduction consistent with the occurrence of both mating types.