Population structure of Phytophthora infestans in Turkey reveals expansion and spread of dominant clonal lineages and virulence
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Late blight, caused by the oomycete Phytophthora infestans, is considered the most important and destructive disease of potato in Turkey. In this study, characterization of 367 isolates of P. infestans obtained from the potato-growing areas of the country was carried out to evaluate the pathogen population structure over the 2017-2019 production seasons. The isolates were characterized by numerous features including mating type, in vitro mefenoxam sensitivity, simple-sequence repeat (SSR) markers, and virulence against a set of potato differential lines. Most isolates were A2 mating type (353 isolates). Also, 68% of isolates were resistant to mefenoxam; the remainder were intermediate in their sensitivity and there were no sensitive isolates. SSR-based genotypic analysis of P. infestans populations showed a low genetic diversity. The 13_A2 clonal lineage predominated with a frequency of 92.1%, followed by 34_A1 (3.3%) and 37_A2 (2.7%). Genotypes 34_A1 and 37_A2 were detected only in 2019. This is the first report of 34_A1 and 37_A2 clonal lineages causing late blight disease of potato in Turkey. The most abundant virulence type was one overcoming resistance genes R1, R2, R3, R4, R6, R7, R10, and R11. These results emphasized that the migration of individuals and the asexual generation of subclonal differences were the main factors driving the population structure of P. infestans in Turkey.