Crinipellis perniciosa has been classified into at least four known biotypes associated with members of unrelated plant families. In this study, genetic variability is shown for 27 C (Cacao), 4 S (Solanum), and 7 L biotype (Liana) isolates of C. perniciosa collected from different regions of Brazil and South America. The objective was to investigate the genetic variability of the pathogen in the cacao-producing region of Bahia, Brazil, and elsewhere, through microsatellite analysis, and attempt to identify possible correlations between host specificity and electrophoretic karyotypes. The PCR-banding patterns were found to vary both within and between the different biotypes, and a correlation was established between the PCR-banding patterns and the chromosomal-banding patterns of each isolate. Microsatellite and chromosomal patterns among all of the L and S biotype isolates were distinctly different from the C biotypes analysed. A higher degree of genetic and chromosomal variability was found among C biotype isolates from the Amazon in comparison with C biotype isolates from Bahia, which seems to be comprised of only two main genotypes. This finding has important implications to the current cacao-breeding programme in Brazil.
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