Wide Variation in Virulence and Genetic Diversity of Binucleate Rhizoctonia Isolates Associated with Root Rot of Strawberry in Western Australia

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    Abstract

    Strawberry (Fragaria×ananassa) is one of the most important berry crops in the world. Root rot of strawberry caused by Rhizoctonia spp. is a serious threat to commercial strawberry production worldwide. However, there is no information on the genetic diversity and phylogenetic status of Rhizoctonia spp. associated with root rot of strawberry in Australia. To address this, a total of 96 Rhizoctonia spp. isolates recovered from diseased strawberry plants in Western Australia were characterized for their nuclear condition, virulence, genetic diversity and phylogenetic status. All the isolates were found to be binucleate Rhizoctonia (BNR). Sixty-five of the 96 BNR isolates were pathogenic on strawberry, but with wide variation in virulence, with 25 isolates having high virulence. Sequence analysis of the internal transcribed spacers of the ribosomal DNA separated the 65 pathogenic BNR isolates into six distinct clades. The sequence analysis also separated reference BNR isolates from strawberry or other crops across the world into clades that correspond to their respective anastomosis group (AG). Some of the pathogenic BNR isolates from this study were embedded in the clades for AG-A, AG-K and AG-I, while other isolates formed clades that were sister to the clades specific for AG-G, AG-B, AG-I and AG-C. There was no significant association between genetic diversity and virulence of these BNR isolates. This study demonstrates that pathogenic BNR isolates associated with root rot of strawberry in Western Australia have wide genetic diversity, and highlights new genetic groups not previously found to be associated with root rot of strawberry in the world (e.g., AG-B) or in Australia (e.g., AG-G). The wide variation in virulence and genetic diversity identified in this study will be of high value for strawberry breeding programs in selecting, developing and deploying new cultivars with resistance to these multi-genetic groups of BNR. © 2013 Fang et al.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)Article number e55877
    JournalPLoS One
    Volume8
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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