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Molecular characterization of natural hybrids formed between five related indigenous clade 6 Phytophthora species

Burgess, T.I. (2015) Molecular characterization of natural hybrids formed between five related indigenous clade 6 Phytophthora species. PLoS ONE, 10 (8). e0134225.

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Most Phytophthora hybrids characterized to date have emerged from nurseries and managed landscapes, most likely generated as a consequence of biological invasions associated with the movement of living plants and germplasm for ornamental, horticultural and agricultural purposes. Presented here is evidence for natural hybridization among a group of five closely related indigenous clade 6 Phytophthora species isolated from waterways and riparian ecosystems in Western Australia. Molecular characterization of hybrids consisted of cloning and sequencing two nuclear genes (ITS and ASF), sequencing of two further nuclear loci (BT and HSP) and of two mitochondrial loci (COI and NADH). Additionally, phenotypic traits including morphology of sporangia and optima and maxima temperatures for growth were also determined. In most cases the nuclear genes were biparentally and in all cases the mtDNA were uniparentally inherited, indicating hybrid formation through sexual crosses. Some isolates bear the molecular signature of three parents suggesting additional hybrid events, although it cannot be determined from the data if these were sequential or simultaneous. These species and their hybrids co-exist in riparian ecosystems and waterways where their ability for rapid asexual proliferation would enable them to rapidly colonize green plant litter. The apparent ease of hybridization could eventually lead to the merging of species through introgression. However, at this point in time, species integrity has been maintained and a more likely scenario is that the hybrids are not stable evolutionary lineages, but rather transient hybrid clones.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Copyright: © 2015 Treena I. Burgess.
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