A microsatellite analysis identifies global pathways of movement of Phytophthora cinnamomi and the likely sources of wildland infestations in California and Mexico

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Phytopathology (2019)




The genetic structure of a sample of isolates of the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi from natural and agricultural outbreaks, and the long-distance movement of individual genotypes, were studied using four microsatellite markers genotyped for 159 isolates of Californian, Mexican, and worldwide origin. Allelic profiles identified 75 multilocus genotypes; STRUCTURE analysis placed them in three groups characterized by different geographic and host ranges, different genic and genotypic diversity, and different reproductive modes. When relationships among genotypes were visualized on a minimum spanning network (MSN), genotypes belonging to the same STRUCTURE group were contiguous with rare exceptions. A putatively ancestral Group 1 has high genic diversity, includes all A1 mating type isolates and all Papuan isolates in the sample, was rarely isolated from natural settings in California and Mexico, and was positioned at the center of the MSN. Putatively younger Groups 2 and 3 had lower genic diversity, were both neighbors to Group 1 but formed two distinct peripherical sectors of the MSN, and were equally present in agricultural commodities and natural settings in Mexico and California. A few genotypes, especially in Group 2 and 3, were isolated multiple times in different locations and settings. The presence of identical genotypes from the same hosts in different continents indicates that long-distance human-mediated movement of P. cinnamomi has occurred. The presence of identical genotypes at high frequency in neighboring wildlands and agricultural settings suggests that specific commodities may have been the source of recent wild infestations caused by novel invasive genotypes.