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Phylogeographic patterns of Armillariaostoyae in the western United States



Nuclear ribosomal DNA regions (i.e. large subunit, internal transcribed spacer, 5.8S and intergenic spacer) were sequenced using a direct-polymerase chain reaction method from Armillaria ostoyae genets collected from the western USA. Many of the A. ostoyae genets contained heterogeneity among rDNA repeats, indicating intragenomic variation and likely intraspecific hybridization. Intragenomic variation was verified by visually editing base-sequence offsets in regions with insertions/deletions, and using sequence-specific internal primers to resequence heterogeneous regions. Phylogenetic analyses with Bayesian Inference methods were used to define groups within A. ostoyae. Analysis of A. ostoyae from outside the western USA indicated the presence of a Circumboreal group of A. ostoyae that also occurs in Utah; two other phylogeographic groups were associated with the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Northwest regions of the USA. Mixed sequence types, an indication of intraspecific hybrids, were common in some geographic regions. Hybridization events may have influenced species evolution, contributing to variation in pathogenicity and virulence. The occurrence of these groups and intraspecific hybrids also indicates that paleogeography and paleoclimate may have influenced the phylogeography of A. ostoyae. In addition, other Armillaria species were examined for evolutionary relationships with the groups of A. ostoyae. These findings will provide a basis for future research relating ecological function to genetic diversity within A. ostoyae.