Genome sequencing and mapping reveal loss of heterozygosity as a mechanism for rapid adaptation in the vegetable pathogen Phytophthora capsici.
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The oomycete vegetable pathogen Phytophthora capsici has shown remarkable adaptation to fungicides and new hosts. Like other members of this destructive genus, P. capsici has an explosive epidemiology, rapidly producing massive numbers of asexual spores on infected hosts. In addition, P. capsici can remain dormant for years as sexually recombined oospores, making it difficult to produce crops at infested sites, and allowing outcrossing populations to maintain significant genetic variation. Genome sequencing, development of a high-density genetic map, and integrative genomic or genetic characterization of P. capsici field isolates and intercross progeny revealed significant mitotic loss of heterozygosity (LOH) in diverse isolates. LOH was detected in clonally propagated field isolates and sexual progeny, cumulatively affecting >30% of the genome. LOH altered genotypes for more than 11,000 single-nucleotide variant sites and showed a strong association with changes in mating type and pathogenicity. Overall, it appears that LOH may provide a rapid mechanism for fixing alleles and may be an important component of adaptability for P. capsici.