Blackleg of Canola: Survey of virulence and race structure of the Leptosphaeria maculans pathogen population in Canada and evaluation of the genetic variation in the L. maculans global population
Phoma stem canker (aka Blackleg) caused by the fungal pathogen Leptosphaeria maculans is a major disease affecting Canola (Brassica napus L.). This study examined 674 L. maculans isolates collected in 2010 and 2011 from western Canada at ten avirulence gene loci. Overall, certain alleles were more prevalent with AvrLm6 and AvrLm7 present in >85% of isolates and AvrLm3, AvrLm9, and AvrLepR2 present in <10% of isolates. This study also examined the genetic diversity of Leptosphaeria maculans populations around the world. Blackleg disease is found in most countries where Brassica spp. are cultivated and there are indications that L. maculans is an expanding species displacing the less aggressive Leptosphaeria biglobosa. Twenty two microsatellite primers were used to screen 96 isolates from 8 countries. A phylogenetic tree to assess the evolutionary relationship between regions was generated and the results indicated that genetic diversity was correlated with geographic location.