Effect of host resistance on genetic structure of core and accessory chromosomes in Irish Zymoseptoria tritici populations

Thomas Welch, Angela Feechan, Steven Kildea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In agricultural pathosystems resistant cultivars are typically only temporarily effective, as widespread growth of said cultivars drives selection for pathogen genotypes capable of infecting them. A gene-for-gene interaction between Z. tritici and wheat has been demonstrated for one cultivar; however results of studies into the relevance of these interactions in the field remain inconsistent. Because genetic drift does not appear to occur between Z. tritici populations that are not widely geographically separated, according to neutral genetic theory if adaptation to different host cultivars is occurring, reduced genetic variation, and some differentiation between populations sourced from different cultivars should be observed. Selectively neutral microsatellite markers were used to genotype 260 isolates of Z. tritici taken from two naturally infected randomized block trials of four different cultivars, representing a spectrum of resistance to Z. tritici from susceptible to resistant. By calculating genetic parameters such as overall heterozygosity and FST from this genotypic data, the presented study aimed to determine if genetic drift or host selection is impacting on the genetic structure of the Irish Z. tritici population. Results indicated that diversity was distributed almost entirely within, rather than among populations, with little or no differentiation, and almost no clone isolates were present in the dataset. However this result was not reflected in the accessory chromosomes, where evidence of minor but significant genetic structure was found. This lack of structure in the core chromosomes and weak structure in the accessory chromosomes confirms that forces of genetic drift and selection are minor compared to sexual reproduction, in concurrence with multiple previous studies on other populations worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-148
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Plant Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018


  • Accessory chromosomes
  • Core chromosomes
  • Host adaptation
  • Microsatellites
  • Septoria tritici blotch
  • Zymoseptoria tritici

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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