Canadian Journal of Botany
1998. 76(3): p. 397-409.

The European S and F intersterility groups of Heterobasidion annosum may represent sympatric protospecies

Garbelotto, Matteo
Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA 94720

Otrosina, W. J., Cobb, F.W.

Bruns, T. D.
Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA 94720

In those regions of Europe where they coexist, the F and S intersterility groups (ISGs) of Heterobasidion annosum (Fr.) Bref. are primarily found on Abies spp. and Picea abies (L.) Karst., respectively. Eighty-three isolates of H. annosum were collected from Abies alba Mill. from 19 sites in Italy, including 10 Abies-Picea mixed conifer stands in the eastern Alps. The ISGs of a subsample of 34 isolates were determined by ISG-diagnostic arbitrary-primed (AP) PCR primers. For a subsample of 16 isolates, including two S isolates from Norway and one S isolate from California, nuclear markers generated by AP-PCR analysis, and mitochondrial markers generated by restriction fragment length polymorphisms and sequencing of the ML5-ML6 region of the mitochondrial large ribosomal RNA gene indicated that, in Europe, (i) the F and S ISGs can be found in the same forest stand but they are two genetically distinct units with restricted gene flow between them; (ii) each of the two ISGs is monophyletic and may lack strong genetic substructuring in subpopulations; and (iii) the two ISGs are closely related to each other and their nearest common close relative is the allopatric S ISG from North America. By combining these results with paleobotanical information and results from previous studies, we postulate a recent sympatric divergence of these two groups driven by differential host specificity and mating barriers.

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