Australasian Plant Pathology (2015) 44, 255-262
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Globalisation, the founder effect, hybrid Phytophthora species and rapid evolution: new headaches for biosecurity
Australasian Plant Pathology 44 (3), 255-262
Abstract: The oomycete genus Phytophthora contains a large number of plant pathogens that cause significant damage to natural and agricultural systems. Until recently species have been distinguished using a limited set of morphological characters. The development of DNA-based technologies has revealed much broader and more complex diversity than previously recognised, and has led to the recent description of many new species. This review looks at the underlying mechanisms for the generation of diversity within the genus. The intercontinental movement and transplantation of infected plant material partially explains the appearance of new species in unexpected places. However, it is also likely that novel species arise as a result of the hybridisation and rapid evolution of introduced species under episodic selection pressures. Hybrid progeny may possess equal or greater virulence than parent species, thereby posing an increasing risk to our natural environment and agricultural production systems. These discoveries amplify the threats posed by the introduction of plant pathogens into new environments, and expose a crucial weakness in current evidence-based biosecurity regimes. Further work is required to identify hybrids, anticipate and understand the occurrence of hybridisation, and to implement appropriate quarantine and risk management measures.
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Database assignments for author(s): David I. Guest
Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution
Pest and/or beneficial records: