Open Access

Intraspecific variation in phenotypic and phylogenetic features among Pratylenchus penetrans isolates from Wisconsin, USA


Pratylenchus penetrans is a common and important agricultural pest in Wisconsin, a USA state with a diverse agriculture. We compared populations from around the state to each other and to data published for populations around the world to gain insight on the variability of features important for identification of this cosmopolitan species. Thirteen isolates from samples collected in soybean fields in ten Wisconsin counties were established in monoxenic cultures. Analysis of morphological features revealed the least variable feature for all isolates collectively was vulva percentage. Features less variable within than among isolates were body width, lip region height, and stylet length. Some isolates showed only the smooth tail tip phenotype and others had a mix of smooth and annulated tail phenotypes. A suite of features provided sufficient pattern to group isolates into four clusters according to hierarchical agglomerative clustering and canonical discriminative analyses, but not with enough distinction to be useful for classification. Haplotype analysis based on the COI mitochondrial gene of the 13 cultured isolates, 39 Wisconsin field populations, and published sequences representing five additional USA states and six countries revealed 21 haplotypes, 15 of which occurred in Wisconsin. Ten haplotypes represented in Wisconsin were shared with populations from Europe, South America, Africa, or Asia. Five haplotypes were unique to Wisconsin, six were unique to The Netherlands, and one was unique to Japan suggesting that even more COI diversity will be revealed when more COI sequences for P. penetrans become available. The maximum pairwise sequence variation was 6% and the SNPs did not alter amino acids, indicating cryptic biodiversity within the species worldwide. The cosmopolitan to localized scale of distribution of COI haplotypes could be due to frequent and ongoing dispersal events, facilitated by life history traits and the broad host range of P. penetrans. Regions of diverse agriculture, like Wisconsin, show promise for studying this important pest and our study confirms the utility of the COI mtDNA gene for studying variation within a species.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other