Location: Floral and Nursery Plants ResearchTitle: Genetic variation of the epibiotic fungus Atkinsonella hypoxylon (Clavicipitaceae) infecting Danthonia spicata
|THAMMINA, CHANDRA - Washington State University|
|AMUNDSEN, KEENAN - University Of Nebraska|
Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/25/2020
Publication Date: 8/12/2020
Citation: Warnke, S.E., Thammina, C.S., Amundsen, K. 2020. Genetic variation of the epibiotic fungus Atkinsonella hypoxylon (Clavicipitaceae) infecting Danthonia spicata. Crop Science. 60:2130-2137. https://doi.org/10.1002/csc2.20119.
Interpretive Summary: Danthonia spicata, commonly known as poverty oatgrass, is a perennial grass native to North America that is adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. It is often managed as a turfgrass in areas of the United States where cool-season grasses are adapted, and it has potential for development as a new low-input turfgrass option. However, naturally occurring D. spicata plants occasionally exhibit “choke” of the flowering stems, whereby inflorescences are suppressed due to proliferation of a fungus, Atkinsonella hypxylon. A team of ARS and university scientists examined DNA variation in twenty-five fungal samples collected from five locations. The samples fell into two distinct groups based on DNA sequence differences. DNA variation showed no evidence for sexual reproduction in the fungus. The two fungal types were present in all five locations and exhibited limited random variation, likely due to mutation.
Technical Abstract: Danthonia spicata (L.) Beauv., commonly known as poverty oatgrass, is a perennial bunch-type grass native to North America. D. spicata is often managed as a turfgrass in areas of the United States where cool-season grasses are adapted and has potential for development as a new low-input turfgrass option. Naturally occurring D. spicata plants occasionally exhibit “choke” of the flowering stems due to a proliferation of fungal hyphae by the ascomycete Atkinsonella hypoxylon (Peck) Diehl. (family Clavicipitaceae). DNA variation in the 5.8s rRNA Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) 1 and 2 regions and ten Simple Sequence Repeat (SSR) loci were screened on twenty-five isolates from five different locations. Five single nucleotide polymorphisms in the ITS-1 region and a deletion in the ITS-2 region separate the isolates into two groups. Additionally, ten SSR markers were scored and they support the two groupings and provide no evidence for sexuality in A. hypoxylon. The two fungal types are present within locations and exhibit limited random variation likely due to mutation rather than hybridization.