Multilocus Sequence Analysis Reveals Three Distinct Populations of “ Candidatus Phytoplasma palmicola” with a Specific Geographical Distribution on the African Continent

Pilet et al. (2019). Applied and Environmental Microbiology 85 (8)
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Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology Biotechnology Ecology Food Science
Coconut is an important crop for both industry and small stakeholders in many intertropical countries. Phytoplasma-associated lethal yellowing-like diseases have become one of the major pests that limit coconut cultivation as they have emerged in different parts of the world. We developed a multilocus sequence typing scheme (MLST) for tracking epidemics of “ Ca . Phytoplasma palmicola,” which is responsible for coconut lethal yellowing disease (CLYD) on the African continent. MLST analysis applied to diseased coconut samples collected in western and eastern African countries also showed the existence of three distinct populations of “ Ca . Phytoplasma palmicola” with low intrapopulation diversity. The reasons for the observed strong geographic patterns remain to be established but could result from the lethality of CLYD and the dominance of short-distance insect-mediated transmission.
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