Genetic instability of the rice blast fungus Magnaporthe oryzae has been suggested as a major factor underlying the rapid breakdown of host resistance in the field. However, little information is available on the mechanism of genetic instability. In this study, we assessed the stability of repetitive DNA elements and several key phenotypic traits important for pathogenesis after serially transferring two isolates though rice plants and an artificial medium. Using isolate 70-15, we obtained a total of 176 single-spore isolates from 10 successive rounds of culturing on artificial medium. Another 20 isolates were obtained from germ tubes formed at the basal and apical cells of 10 three-celled conidia. Additionally, 60 isolates were obtained from isolate KJ201 after serial transfers through rice plants and an artificial medium. No apparent differences in phenotypes, including mycelial growth, conidial morphologies, conidiation, conidial germination, appressorium formation, and virulence, or in DNA fingerprints using MGR586, MAGGY, Pot2, LINE, MG-SINE and PWL2 as probes were observed among isolates from the same parent isolate. Southern hybridization and sequence analysis of two avirulence genes, AVR-Pita1 and AVR-Pikm, showed that both genes were also maintained stably during 10 successive generations on medium and plants. However, one reversible loss of restriction fragments was found in the telomere-linked helicase gene (TLH1) family, suggesting some telomere regions may be more unstable than the rest of the genome. Taken together, our results suggest that phenotype and genotype of M. oryzae isolates do not noticeably change, at least up to 10 successive generations on a cultural medium and in host plants.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agronomy and Crop Science