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Genetic Variability of Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus on Ash Leaf Rachises in Leaf Litter of Forest Stands in Poland



Two hundred and thirty cultures of Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus were obtained from ascospores created in apothecia on the previous years' ash leaf rachises in the stand floor. Fruiting bodies of the pathogen were collected in four regions of Poland differing by geographical location, the altitude above sea level and climatic conditions. Isolates were identified based on the sequences of ribosomal DNA (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2) and the calmodulin gene. Only the presence of H. pseudoalbidus was identified in the decaying ash stands in Poland; morphologically similar, saprotrophic species of H. albidus was absent. Intrapopulation and interpopulation genetic variability of isolates was determined based on 84 RAMS markers obtained using four primers. Genetic variability of the fungus populations, measured by the Dice coefficient of genetic similarity and the Shannon coefficient of genetic diversity, decreased along with a decrease in the location of isolate collection area above sea level. A significant dependency was shown between intrapopulation genetic variability of isolates and altitude of regions above sea level. The Mantel test excluded existence of dependence between geographical and genetic distance among populations (r = −0.038, P = 0.55). A significant correlation was found between the genetic distances of individuals within populations and locations above sea level. Based on PCA and geographical location of populations, it was shown that populations create four distinct groups. amova showed that a majority of total genetic variability (65.80%) constitutes intrapopulation variability. Variability between populations was high (28.7%), and individual regions had a smallest influence (5.5%) on the level of total variability.