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Sudden Oak Death pathogen is evolving, says new study that reconstructs the epidemic
Date:4/16/2008

tudy also found that strains from areas of recent infestations are more genetically distant from current nursery strains, which suggests that regulations controlling the spread of the pathogen from the nursery to the wild are working, said Garbelotto. "Nurseries do not seem to be the source of current outbreaks of Sudden Oak Death in the wild," he said. "Unfortunately, evidence shows that the pathogen is spreading on its own in the wild. New strains are evolving."

Previous research led by Garbelotto has shown that there was very little genetic variability of the pathogen in the forest, an indication that the pathogen was spreading by asexual, clonal reproduction in the wild. Samples from nurseries, however, revealed significantly greater genetic variation, suggesting that nurseries host a much broader representation of the pathogen.

But as the epidemic continues, strains of P. ramorum found in wild sites are beginning to show greater diversity, the researchers said.

Garbelotto noted that current regulations restrict the movement of known host plant material from natural areas within quarantine counties to non-restricted areas, but moving plant material within the quarantined counties is allowed.

"The sites within the quarantined areas are at different points in the epidemic's evolutionary history with different strains of the pathogen, so moving plants between those locations could be dangerous," said Garbelotto. "What our study shows is that not every infected site is the same."


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Contact: Sarah Yang
scyang@berkeley.edu
510-643-7741
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert  

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