Interfertility of two mating populations in the Gibberella fujikuroi species complex

TitleInterfertility of two mating populations in the Gibberella fujikuroi species complex
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsLeslie, JF, Zeller, KA, Wohler, M, Summerell, BA
JournalEuropean Journal of Plant Pathology
Pagination611 -618
Accession NumberKNZ00954
KeywordsAFLP, biological species, fumonisin, Fusarium fujikuroi, Fusarium proliferatum, Gibberella intermedia, interspecific hybrids, Konza Prairie, mating type, sexual crosses

Gibberella fujikuroi and Gibberella intermedia (mating populations ‘C’ and ‘D’ of the G. fujikuroi species complex) can be distinguished by differences in the spectrum of mycotoxins produced, the lack of sexual cross-fertility and diagnostic differences in their DNA sequences. Some isolates from these two biological species, however, can interbreed and complete meiosis to produce viable progeny. Analysis of marker segregation amongst such hybrid progeny can be used to estimate the degree of genomic rearrangement and genetic incompatibility that has accumulated since these sibling species diverged. Recombinant progeny were isolated from crosses of the standard tester strains for these two species and from crosses between these standard testers and a field isolate (KSU X-10626) that was cross-fertile with tester strains of both species. Progeny in all of the crosses segregated for amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs). Segregation of AFLP loci deviated from 1:1 for two thirds of the loci amongst the progeny of the cross between the ‘C’ and ‘D’ mating population tester strains, but <20% of the polymorphic loci in the cross of either tester with KSU X-10626 showed such distortion. It was concluded that G. intermedia and G. fujikuroi are sufficiently interfertile to belong to the same biological species, but that changing the nomenclature to reflect this interfertility requires more evidence for the natural occurrence of a continuum in fertility than is presently available.