Variable opportunities for outcrossing result in hotspots of novel genetic variation in a pathogen metapopulation

Tutkimustuotos: Lehtiartikkelivertaisarvioitu



  • Univ Zurich, University of Zurich, Dept Evolutionary Biol & Environm Studies
  • Univ Lyon, Agence Nationale de Securite Sanitaire de lAlimentation, de lEnvironnement du Travail (ANSES), Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Universite de Lyon (ComUE), Anses, INRA, USC CASPER
  • University of Helsinki
  • Univ Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Res Ctr Ecol Change, Organismal & Evolutionary Biol


Many pathogens possess the capacity for sex through outcrossing, despite being able to reproduce also asexually and/or via selfing. Given that sex is assumed to come at a cost, these mixed reproductive strategies typical of pathogens have remained puzzling. While the ecological and evolutionary benefits of outcrossing are theoretically well-supported, support for such benefits in pathogen populations are still scarce. Here, we analyze the epidemiology and genetic structure of natural populations of an obligate fungal pathogen, Podosphaera plantaginis. We find that the opportunities for outcrossing vary spatially. Populations supporting high levels of coinfection -a prerequisite of sex - result in hotspots of novel genetic diversity. Pathogen populations supporting coinfection also have a higher probability of surviving winter. Jointly our results show that outcrossing has direct epidemiological consequences as well as a major impact on pathogen population genetic diversity, thereby providing evidence of ecological and evolutionary benefits of outcrossing in pathogens.


TilaJulkaistu - 18 kesäkuuta 2019
OKM-julkaisutyyppiA1 Julkaistu artikkeli, soviteltu

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