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Cryptic speciation in Hymenoscyphus albidus

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Ash dieback caused by the mitosporic ascomycete Chalara fraxinea is a novel disease of major concern affecting Fraxinus excelsior and Fraxinus angustifolia in large parts of Europe. Recently, its teleomorph was detected and assigned to Hymenoscyphus albidus, which has been known from Europe since 1851. In this study, we present molecular evidence for the existence of two morphologically very similar taxa, H. albidus, which is lectotypified and Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus sp. nov. Differences were found between the species in the loci calmodulin, translation elongation factor 1-α and the internal transcribed spacers of the rDNA genes, and strong differentiation was obtained with ISSR markers. It is likely that H. albidus is a non-pathogenic species, whereas H. pseudoalbidus is a virulent species causing ash dieback. Genotyping herbarium specimens showed that H. pseudoalbidus has been present in Switzerland for at least 30 years prior to the outbreak of the epidemic.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Forest Pathology and Dendrology, Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ), ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland 2: Plant Ecological Genetics, Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ), ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland 3: Department of Forest Pathology, Faculty of Forestry, Agricultural University, Kraków, Poland

Publication date: 2011-04-01

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