The susceptibility of Asian, European and North American Fraxinus species to the ash dieback pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus reflects their phylogenetic history

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In Europe, common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is being decimated because of the invasive fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. In its native range in Asia this ascomycete is considered a harmless leaf associate of F. mandshurica and F. chinensis subsp. rhynchophylla. Field observations from Europe suggest that there is species-specific variation in disease susceptibility among European and North American Fraxinus species, but a wider comparison at the genus level has been missing so far. We assessed disease symptoms and pathogen apothecium development in 17 Fraxinus species from Asia, Europe and North America exposed to high infection pressure in a Danish arboretum. We also tested their susceptibility to pathogen infection through controlled stem and leaf inoculations and subsequently assessed the level of pathogen DNA by a qPCR assay. The results suggested the presence of a phylogenetic signal in disease susceptibility where closely related Asian, European and North American species in section Fraxinus had relatively high levels of H. fraxineus DNA in the leaves and supported high production of apothecia. Leaves from some North American species also contained relatively high levels of H. fraxineus DNA, supported moderate production of apothecia and developed lesions—stating the need to avoid introduction of H. fraxineus to North America.
TidsskriftEuropean Journal of Forest Research
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)59–73
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2017

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