Discovery of a fourth evolutionary lineage of Phytophthora ramorum: EU2

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Fungal Biology, Volume 116, Issue 11, p.1178 - 1191 (2012)



Phytophthora ramorum is a recently introduced, aggressive Phytophthora species that has caused extensive mortality of oak and tanoak trees in the western USA and Japanese larch trees in the UK. P. ramorum is also present on Rhododendron, Camellia, and Viburnum in the nursery industry, which is thought to have been the pathway for its spread into new geographic regions including forests and natural ecosystems. Three lineages of P. ramorum have been described, informally designated EU1, NA1, and NA2, and each lineage is believed to originate from an as yet unknown exotic centre of origin. Preliminary SSR and sequence analysis of isolates from a UK P. ramorum survey revealed seven isolates with profiles that did not match the previously known lineages. Detailed SSR and multilocus sequence analysis of these isolates are presented, allowing us to assign these isolates to a new P. ramorum lineage, designated EU2. Although the known geographical origin of these isolates is currently limited to Northern Ireland and western Scotland, the EU2 lineage isolates have been obtained from four different host plants, including Japanese larch. All isolates are of A1 compatibility type, which implies that this finding does not increase the risk of outcrossing with the EU1 lineage isolates already present in the UK. The oldest EU2 strain was isolated in 2007 but no SSR-based intraEU2 lineage genotypic diversity was detected. The combination of these elements points to a recent introduction, despite emergency phytosanitary measures to control introduction and spread. A PCR-RFLP method for the rapid identification of EU2 lineage isolates is presented.