Something in the agar does not compute: on the discriminatory power of mycelial compatibility in Sclerotinia sclerotiorum
Mycelial compatibility, the ability for fungal isolates to grow together and form one single colony, was defined for Sclerotinia sclerotiorum nearly 30 years ago and has since been used as a marker to describe clonal variation in population genetic studies. While evidence suggests an associative relationship between mycelial compatibility and vegetative compatibility, contemporary research has treated these traits as analogous. As molecular markers have been developed to describe genetic variation, researchers combined these with the mycelial compatibility groups to assess and to define clonal lineages. However, several inconsistent relationships between mycelial compatibility groups, haplotypes, and even vegetative compatibility groups have been observed throughout the literature, suggesting that mycelial compatibility may not accurately reflect self-recognition. We argue that the Sclerotinia community needs to move beyond using MCG data in population genetic studies.
KeywordsVegetative compatibility Microsatellite genotyping
We would like to thank Gerard Adams for stimulating discussions on the nature of vegetative compatibility in filamentous fungi. We additionally would like to thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments that improved the clarity of the final manuscript.
Funding was provided for salaries and previous research on this topic that was also reviewed here. This includes partial support from the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station with funding from the Hatch Act (Accession Number 1007272) through the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, grant #58-5442-2-209 from the USDA-ARS National Sclerotinia Initiative to SEE, and start-up funds from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) to SEE. Funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
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