Canadian Forest Service Publications

Fine-scale genetic diversity and relatedness in fungi associated with the mountain pine beetle. 2019. Tsui, C.K.-M.; Beauseigle, S.; Alayon, D.I.O.; Rice, A.V.; Cooke, J.E.K.; Sperling, F.A.H.; Roe, A.D.; Hamelin, R.C. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 49(8): 933-941.

Year: 2019

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39876

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1139/cjfr-2018-0418

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Plain Language Summary

The mountain pine beetle (MPB) is an important pest of pines in western North America. The recent outbreak has killed many pine trees in western forests. This species has also crossed the Rocky Mountains, well beyond its historical range, and now threatens Canada’s eastern boreal forests. MPB shares a close, symbiotic relationship with several fungal species that help the beetles survive and kill the trees attacked by the beetles. Using a panel of molecular markers, we describe the genetic variation within the symbiotic MPB fungi within a forest stand at the leading edge of the MPB outbreak. We found high levels of genetic variation among fungal samples and many unrelated individuals, suggesting that beetles are moving fungal strains within and among trees, creating a large, diverse, mixed gene pool. A diverse gene pool provides these fungi the genetic foundation to quickly respond to new environmental conditions or hosts, thereby assisting the MPB partner in colonizing new habitats.