Plant Pathology Department


Date of this Version




© 2015 The American Phytopathological Society


The purpose of this study was to determine the fine-scale genetic structure of populations of the brown rot pathogen Monilinia fructicola within individual peach tree canopies to better understand within-tree plant pathogen diversity and to complement previous work on spatiotemporal development of brown rot disease at the canopy level. Across 3 years in a total of six trees, we monitored disease development, collected isolates from every M. fructicola symptom during the course of the season, and created high-resolution three-dimensional maps of all symptom and isolate locations within individual canopies using an electromagnetic digitizer. Each canopy population (65 to 173 isolates per tree) was characterized using a set of 13 microsatellite markers and analyzed for evidence of spatial genetic autocorrelation among isolates during the epidemic phase of the disease. Results showed high genetic diversity (average uh = 0.529) and high genotypic diversity (average D = 0.928) within canopies. The percentage of unique multilocus genotypes within trees was greater for blossom blight isolates (78.2%) than for fruit rot isolates (51.3%), indicating a greater contribution of clonal reproduction during the preharvest epidemic. For fruit rot isolates, between 54.2 and 81.7% of isolates were contained in one to four dominant clonal genotypes per tree having at least 10 members. All six fruit rot populations showed positive and significant spatial genetic autocorrelation for distance classes between 0.37 and 1.48 m. Despite high levels of within-tree pathogen diversity, the contribution of locally available inoculum combined with short-distance dispersal is likely the main factor generating clonal population foci and associated spatial genetic clustering within trees.