Initial genetic analysis of Xylella fastidiosa in Texas
Xylella fastidiosa is the causative agent of Pierce's Disease of grape. No published record of X. fastidiosa genetics in Texas exists despite growing financial risk to the U.S. grape industry, a Texas population of the glassy-winged sharpshooter insect vector (Homalodisca vitripennis) now spreading in California, and evidence that the bacterium is ubiquitous to southern states. Using sequences of conserved gyrB and mopB genes, we have established at least two strains in Texas, grape strain and ragweed strain, corresponding genetically with subsp. piercei and multiplex, respectively. The grape strain in Texas is found in Vitis vinifera varieties, hybrid vines, and wild Vitis near vineyards, whereas the ragweed strain in Texas is found in annuals, shrubs, and trees near vineyards or other areas. RFLP and QRT PCR techniques were used to differentiate grape and ragweed strains with greater efficiency than sequencing and are practical for screening numerous X. fastidiosa isolates for clade identity.