Intraspecific and intragenomic variability of ITS rDNA sequences reveals taxonomic problems in Ceratocystis fimbriata sensu stricto

T. C. Harrington*, M. R. Kazmi, A. M. Al-Sadi, S. I. Ismail

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Fourteen new species in the Latin American Clade (LAC) of the Ceratocystis fimbriata complex recently were distinguished from C. fimbriata sensu stricto largely based on variation in ITS rDNA sequences. Among the 116 isolates representing the LAC, there were 41 ITS haplotypes. Maximum parsimony (MP) analysis of ITS sequences produced poorly resolved trees. In contrast, analyses of matingtype genes (MAT1-1-2 and MAT1-2-1) resolved a single MP tree with branches of high bootstrap and posterior probability support. Four isolates showed intragenomic variation in ITS sequences. Cloning and sequencing of PCR products from a single haploid strain identified two or more ITS sequences differing at up to 16 base positions and representing two described species. Isolates from introduced populations that appeared to be clonal based on microsatellite markers varied at up to 14 bp in ITS sequence. Strains of seven Brazilian ITS haplotypes and an isolate from Ipomoea batatas (on which the species name C. fimbriata was based) were fully interfertile in sexual crosses. These analyses support three phylogenetic species that differ in pathogenicity: C. platani, C. cacaofunesta and C. colombiana. Five ITS species (C. manginecans, C. mangicola, C. mangivora, C. acaciivora, C. eucalypticola) appear to be ITS haplotypes that have been moved from or within Brazil on nursery stock. The taxonomic status of other species delineated primarily by ITS sequences (C. diversiconidia, C. papillata, C. neglecta, C. ecuadoriana, C. fimbriatomima, C. curvata) needs further study, but they are considered doubtful species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-242
Number of pages19
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Eucalyptus spp.
  • Mangifera indica
  • Punica granatum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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