Zhian N Kamvar, Bimal S Amaradasa , Rachana Jhala, Serena McCoy, James R Steadman, Sydney E Everhart
The ascomycete pathogen Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a necrotrophic pathogen on over 400 known host plants, and is the causal agent of white mold on dry bean. Currently, there are no known cultivars of dry bean with complete resistance to white mold. For more than 20 years, bean breeders have been using white mold screening nurseries with natural populations of S. sclerotiorum to screen new cultivars for resistance. It is thus important to know if the genetic diversity in populations of S. sclerotiorum within these nurseries a) reflect the genetic diversity of the populations in the surrounding region and b) are stable over time. Furthermore, previous studies have investigated the correlation between mycelial compatibility groups (MCG) and multilocus haplotypes (MLH), but none have formally tested these patterns. We genotyped 366 isolates of S. sclerotiorum from producer fields and white mold screening nurseries surveyed over 10 years in 2003–2012 representing 11 states in the United States of America, Australia, France, and Mexico at 11 microsatellite loci resulting in 165 MLHs. Populations were loosely structured over space and time based on analysis of molecular variance and discriminant analysis of principal components, but not by cultivar, aggressiveness, or field source. Of all the regions tested, only Mexico (n=18) shared no MLHs with any other region. Using a bipartite network-based approach, we found no evidence that the MCGs accurately represent MLHs. Our study suggests that breeders should continue to test dry bean lines in several white mold screening nurseries across the US to account for both the phenotypic and genotypic variation that exists across regions.