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  • Maciej Kaczmarek
  • Martin S. Mullett
    Forest Research
  • James McDonald
  • Sandra Denman
    Forest Research
Brenneria goodwinii is one of the most frequently isolated Gram-negative bacteria from native oak species, Quercus robur and Q. petraea, affected by acute oak decline (AOD) in the UK. We investigated the population biology of this bacterial species using a multilocus sequence analysis to determine the population structure and evolutionary potential. Seven partial housekeeping genes were used in the analyses. Amongst 44 bacterial strains from seven different locations, we identified 22 unique sequence types [STs]; only one ST was found at two separate locations. Phylogenetic and cluster-based analyses suggested that B. goodwinii STs form two main distinct groups; however, no geographical pattern of their distribution could be observed. Clonality and recombination tests demonstrated that the studied population is primarily clonal, however both mutation and recombination processes play a role in shaping the genetic structure and evolution of the population. Our study suggests that the B. goodwinii population on oak in the UK has an endemic form, with background recombination appearing to generate new alleles more frequently than mutation, despite the introduction of nucleotide substitutions being approximately twice less likely than mutation. The newly emerged STs subsequently undergo clonal expansion to become dominant genotypes within their specific geographical locations and even within the individual host oak trees.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0178390
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

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