Comparative Studies between Portuguese and Japanese Isolates of the Pinewood Nematode, <I>Bursaphelenchus xylophilus</I>


  • Manuel M. Mota
  • Shuhei Takemoto
  • Yuko Takeuchi
  • Naoki Hara
  • Kazuyoshi Futai


Portugal, Japan, pathogenicity, sexual compatibility, DNA sequence.


Comparative studies between Portuguese (T and HF) and Japanese (S10, T4, C14-5 and OKD-1) isolates of the pinewood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus have been made in order to provide information to better understand the possible origin of the Portuguese isolates, recently introduced in the European Union. The main comparative aspects investigated were pathogenicity (seedling mortality ratio), sexual compatibility, and DNA sequences of the rDNA region. Four-year-old Japanese black pine (Pinus thunbergii) seedlings were used as host plants for pathogenicity tests. The Portuguese isolates, and in particular isolate quot;T,quot; propagated in higher numbers than the Japanese isolates within pine seedlings. All combinations of crossings produced viable progeny, with higher numbers obtained when crossings were made between Japanese and Portuguese isolates, a possible situation of heterosis and/or inbreeding depression. Reciprocal crossings yielded different values, which may reflect a sex effect (maternal inheritance, mtDNA). Regarding DNA sequencing, both Portuguese isolates displayed nearly identical ITS 1,ITS2, and 5.8S rDNA base sequences as the Japanese isolates. Although biologically very similar, and possibly reflecting a common origin, the Portuguese isolates may present a serious threat to Japanese black pine, due to their higher virulence.