Genetic diversity of ‘Candidatus Liberibacter africanus’ in South Africa based on microsatellite markers

Roberts et al. (2021). European Journal of Plant Pathology 159 (2)
Names (1)
Agronomy and Crop Science Horticulture Plant Science
AbstractCitrus Greening disease (CG) in South Africa (SA) is associated with the fastidious bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter africanus’ (Laf). It has been observed that Laf isolates obtained from different geographic localities in SA differed in the rate of transmission during grafting experiments leading to the hypothesis that genetic variation of Laf may exist in this country. To determine this, 167 Laf isolates obtained from Limpopo, North West, Mpumalanga and the Western Cape were subjected to microsatellite analyses, using four polymorphic markers. From UPGMA and STRUCTURE analysis, it was shown that most sources belong to one of two major genetic groups of Laf and these comprise 25 distinct haplotypes. Four samples included within this study did not group with these two major groups, suggesting a potential third and fourth genetic group of Laf being present, which can be validated by further sampling. Results further indicate that Laf populations in SA are formed by geographic locality. The high genetic diversity observed for Laf within this study is consistent with the hypothesis that Laf originated on the African continent, warranting further genetic analysis of Laf populations from Africa. This is the first study to unveil the genetic diversity of Laf.
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