Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Genetic structure and demographic history of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides sensu lato and C. truncatum isolates from Trinidad and Mexico

Sephra N Rampersad1*, Daisy Perez-Brito2, Claudia Torres-Calzada2, Raul Tapia-Tussell2 and Christine VF Carrington3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies

2 Laboratorio GeMBio, Centro de Investigacion Científica de Yucatan A.C., Yucatan, Mexico

3 Department of Pre-clinical Science, Faculty of Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Trinidad and Tobago, West Indies

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2013, 13:130  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-130

Published: 22 June 2013



C. gloeosporioides sensu lato is one of the most economically important post-harvest diseases affecting papaya production worldwide. There is currently no information concerning the genetic structure or demographic history of this pathogen in any of the affected countries. Knowledge of molecular demographic parameters for different populations will improve our understanding of the biogeographic history as well as the evolutionary and adaptive potential of these pathogens. In this study, sequence data for ACT, GPDH, β-TUB and ITS gene regions were analyzed for C. gloeosporioides sensu lato and C. truncatum isolates infecting papaya in Trinidad and Mexico in order to determine the genetic structure and demographic history of these populations.


The data indicated that Mexico is the ancestral C. gloeosporioides sensu lato population with asymmetrical migration to Trinidad. Mexico also had the larger effective population size but, both Mexico and Trinidad populations exhibited population expansion. Mexico also had greater nucleotide diversity and high levels of diversity for each gene. There was significant sub-division of the Trinidad and Mexico populations and low levels of genetic divergence among populations for three of the four gene regions; β-TUB was shown to be under positive selection. There were also dissimilar haplotype characteristics for both populations. Mutation may play a role in shaping the population structure of C. gloeosporioides sensu lato isolates from Trinidad and from Mexico, especially with respect to the ACT and GPDH gene regions. There was no evidence of gene flow between the C. truncatum populations and it is possible that the Mexico and Trinidad populations emerged independently of each other.


The study revealed relevant information based on the genetic structure as well as the demographic history of two fungal pathogens infecting papaya, C. gloeosporioides sensu lato and C. truncatum, in Trinidad and Mexico. Understanding the genetic structure of pathogen populations will assist in determining the evolutionary potential of the pathogen and in identifying which evolutionary forces may have the greatest impact on durability of resistance. Intervention strategies that target these evolutionary forces would prove to be the most practical.

Colletotrichum spp.; Genetic differentiation; Migration; Population structure