Population genetic structures illustrate evolutionary trajectories of organisms adapting to differential environmental conditions. Verticillium stem striping disease on oilseed rape was mainly observed in continental Europe, but has recently emerged in the United Kingdom. The disease is caused by the hybrid fungal species Verticillium longisporum that originates from at least three separate hybridization events, yet hybrids between Verticillium progenitor species A1 and D1 are mainly responsible for Verticillium stem striping. We reveal a hitherto un-described dichotomy within V. longisporum lineage A1/D1 that correlates with the geographic distribution of the isolates with an 'A1/D1 West' and an 'A1/D1 East' cluster. Genome comparison between representatives of the A1/D1 West and East clusters excluded population distinctiveness through separate hybridization events. Remarkably, the A1/D1 West population that is genetically more diverse than the entire A1/D1 East cluster caused the sudden emergence of Verticillium stem striping in the UK, whereas in continental Europe Verticillium stem striping is predominantly caused by the more genetically uniform A1/D1 East population. The observed genetic diversity of the A1/D1 West population argues against a recent introduction of the pathogen into the UK, but rather suggests that the pathogen previously established in the UK and remained latent or unnoticed as oilseed rape pathogen until recently.© 2017 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Journal: Environmental microbiology