• Avr genes;
  • late blight;
  • Phytophthora infestans;
  • SSR genotyping;
  • virulence


Phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of 48 Phytophthora infestans isolates, collected in five provinces in Northern China between 1997 and 2003, were determined and compared with reference isolates. Characterisation included mating type, virulence, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplotype and DNA fingerprinting patterns based on simple sequence repeats (SSR) and amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP). All isolates had the A1 mating type, mtDNA haplotype IIa and an identical SSR genotype (designated as SG-01-01) that differed from SSR genotypes found in the reference isolates, including those representing the ‘old’ US-1 lineage that dominated the P. infestans population worldwide prior to 1980. In contrast, the virulence spectra were highly variable and virulence to all resistance genes present in the standard differential set (R1 to R11) was found. AFLP analysis revealed some diversity; eight different AFLP genotypes were found that could be grouped into two major clusters. This study shows that there is very little genotypic diversity in the P. infestans population in Northern China. The occurrence of many different races within this rather uniform population is discussed in the framework of recent insights into the molecular determinants of avirulence in potato–P. infestans‘gene-for-gene’ interactions.