Genetic Variability and Chromosome-Length Polymorphisms of the Witches’ Broom Pathogen Crinipellis perniciosa from Various Plant Hosts in South America

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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